Kathy Kosins, an award-winning jazz vocalist from Detroit, performed with the SVSU jazz ensemble at the Rhea Miller Recital Hall on Thursday, April 12.
Kosins has won the ASCAP songwriting award, was voted Jazz Composer of the Year by the Michigan Council for the Arts and has performed in countries like Spain, France, and Switzerland.
Kosins began her career singing and arranging vocals for producer Don Was. She has five solo albums and has collaborated with fellow jazz musicians Terrell Stafford, Randy Brecker and Michael Henderson.
Her most recent album, “Uncovered Soul,” is inspired by ‘60s and ‘70s Motown music.
“I grew up in Detroit,” Kosins said. “I listened to Motown records. I listened to Isley Brothers, I listened to Curtis Mayfield. I’m influenced by the grit and grime of the city, and I’ve always been a jazz artist.”
Kosins practiced with the SVSU jazz ensemble, directed by Seth Ebersole, the week before the concert. Together, they performed jazz classics such as “Ain’t Misbehavin’” by Andy Razaf and Thomas “Fats” Weller, “These Boots Were Made for Walking” by Doug Stone and “Do Nothing ‘Till You Hear From Me” by Bob Russell and Duke Ellington.
Kosins is known for her intersectionality of art and music. She creates interpretive paintings of songs by giants of the jazz world such as Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis. While the jazz ensemble played a composition by Monk, Kosins painted an original piece on stage inspired by the music.
The painting was auctioned off to a member of the audience for $90. Annie Weir, a history education freshman and jazz ensemble member, learned a lot from performing with Kosins.
“I learned that art and music can be tied together, and that music is a great way of expressing emotions,” Weir said. “Kathy Kosins’ voice is so deep and smooth. We’ve been practicing for a long time without her, and so when she came, it was cool to hear the missing parts. Her vocals tied everything together.”
Katie Fassone, a music senior and choral director for the nonprofit Major Chords for Minors, appreciated the concert.
“I personally enjoy jazz a lot,” Fassone said. “We studied jazz in music history this semester, so it was very cool to hear Duke Ellington, who we studied. I am also a vocalist, so hearing Kathy Kosins perform was inspiring as well.”