Ladies of Cool
Kathy Kosins is the rare jazz vocalist who chooses to salute earlier singers by mostly picking less familiar songs they recorded while also putting her individual stamp on them. Pianist Tamir Hendelman, a brilliant accompanist on some of her earlier recordings, provided the arrangements, and the talented cast includes guitarist Graham Dechter, multi-reed player Steve Wilkerson, drummer Bob Leatherbarrow (who doubles on vibes), and trumpeter/fl gelhornist Gilbert Castellanos. Kosins has a bit of an R&B flavor in her alto voice, crisp enunciation, and the ability to swing, as best demonstrated in the breezy take of "Nightbird" and the bluesy late-night flavor of "Don't Wait Up for Me," along with her shimmering setting of "November Twilight." Kosins' sassy, playful side is on display in Duke Ellington's World War II-era "Kissing Bug" and in the hip lyric she wrote for Johnny Mandel's tasty "Hershey Bar," renamed "Hershey's Kisses." One obscurity that she rescues from the archive of forgotten gems is the Henry Mancini/Bobby Troup composition "Free and Easy," showcasing Hendelman and Dechter in top form as well.
KATHY KOSINS - "TO THE LADIES OF COOL"
"The captivating Kosins pays homage to the queens of '50s West Coast cool jazz - Julie London, Anita O'Day, Chris Connor and June Christy. Though recapturing that smokey, martini-drenched milieu perfectly, the vocalist puts her own sensuous stamp on each number. The album wends its way wonderfully through a variety of moods and rhythms. Among the highlights are the melancholy "November Twilight," the sweetly swinging 'Hershey's Kisses' and the swaying 'Where Are You?'"
Paul Freeman – Pop Culture Classics
Kathy Kosins – To The Ladies of Cool – Resonance Records
"A personalized nod to Anita O' Day, Julie London, June Christy and Chris Connor, the concept is cool and the execution is delightful."
Rick Erben – KIOS Omaha Public Radio
"Simply put...Kathy Kosins is a singer's singer. With the backing of a wonderful group....she has taken these songs and transformed them into compelling new musical short stories. From an uptempo swinger to a slow sultry ballad...Kathy's tribute to these legendary ladies is tasteful, sophisticated and simply elegant. I've listened to literally hundreds of vocal CDs over the past year and I can honestly say that "To The Ladies Of Cool" is as good as it gets from the first note to the last. You want a great listening experience....look no further than Kathy Kosins."
Eric Cohen – WAER – Syracruse, New York
"Kathy Kosins' "To The Ladies of Cool" far exceeds most vocal recordings of 2012. An ambitious project, Kosins raises a toast to vocalists Anita O'Day, June Christy, Julie London and Chris Connor — who embodied "West Coast Cool." Kosins' vocal portraits bring the listener into contact with the elegant vocal artistry of an era in jazz which deserves to be treasured."
Chris Cooke – KIOS
"Kathy's singing is technically flawless yet filled with a warmth and appeal that only the greatest singers achieve. An amazing accomplishment.
Eddie Dunn – KWIT – Sioux City, Iowa, Public Radio
"Finally, a salute to the coolest voices of the 20th century – from one of the loveliest voices of the 21st century. Kathy Kosins scores big with "To the Ladies of Cool""
Brian Delp – WBGO – New Jersey
"Kathy Kosins fills a void in today's jazz world that only few can do. This CD has it all and I play it on both my Sinatra and jazz radio shows. 10 great tracks that leave you wanting more and I do from today's lady of cool."
Kevin Conway – KSFR – Fresno
"...the terrific “To The Ladies Of Cool,” (Resonance Records) salutes their music and enduring legacies on an album of seldom heard standards and bubbly tunes..."
Nick Bewsey – Jazz In Space BlogSpot
The times when the jazz singers ended up on the front pages of glossy magazine are now long gone. Fortunately, the incisions are characters and music with remarkable voice that have left their mark in the music of the twentieth century.
Vittorio Lo Conte – All About Jazz Italy
"...An in the pocket swinger with a sultry alto and a literate feel for lyrics..."
Paul de Barros – Seattle Times Jazz Critic
POP CULTURE CLASSICS
"The captivating Kosins pays homage to the queens of the '50s West Coast cool jazz - Julie London, Anita O'Day, Chris Connor and June Christy. Though recapturing that smokey, martini-drenched milieu perfectly, the vocalist puts her own sensuous stamp on each number. The album wends its way wonderfully through a variety of moods and rhythms. Among the highlights are the melancholy "November Twilight," the sweetly swinging "Hershey's Kisses" and the swaying "Where Are You?""
Paul Freeman - POP CULTURE CLASSICS
"Kathy Kosins’ tribute To The Ladies Of Cool pays homage to June Christy, Chris Connor, Anita O’Day and Julie London, but not in an obvious way. Ms. Kosins does not make any attempt to copy any of the four singers (all of whom were in their prime in the 1950s) and her slightly heavier voice is distinctive in its own right. While she mostly performs material on this project that was recorded by one or more of the singers, their most famous tunes are not here and some of the numbers (such as “Nightbird,” “Don’t Wait Up for Me” and “November Twilight”) are obscure. So her tribute is really more to their legacy rather than direct emulation. In any case, this is an excellent effort that will be enjoyed by fans of those singers. Pianist Tamir Hendelman, who also contributed all of the arrangements, is joined in the sextet by the powerful saxophonist Steve Wilkerson (long an underrated great in the L.A. area), trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos, guitarist Graham Dechter, drummer Bob Leatherbarrow and either Kevin Axt or Paul Keller on bass. Kathy Kosins sounds jubilant on “Hershey’s Kisses” (a Johnny Mandel song for which she wrote the lyrics), revives “Learnin’ The Blues,” and is appropriately sly on “Kissing Bug.” To The Ladies Of Cool (available from www.resonancerecords.org) is one of her most appealing recordings so far."
Scott Yanow - LA Jazz Scene
"Kosins' voice is perfectly suited for the repertoire, being well- balanced and evenly distributed. She makes To the Ladies of Cool an effortless labor of love, and one given gladly."
C. Michael Bailey
"It's tough to dispute the discographies that turned Ella, Billie and Sarah into the reigning queens of jazz, but that has never discounted the contributions of many others, including Chris Connor, Anita O'Day, June Christy and Julie London. Count vocalist Kathy Kosins among their fans since her fifth recording, the terrific To the Ladies of Cool, salutes their music and enduring legacies on an album of seldom heard standards and bubbly tunes enriched by the arrangements of pianist Tamir Hendelman whose sterling accompaniment can't be overstated. With Kosins on top, he leads a fleet band that includes trumpeter Gilbery Castellanos, bassists Kevin Axt and Paul Keller, guitarist Graham Dechter, Steve Wilkerson on reeds and percussionist Bob Leatherbarrow. Ladies is a class act with a strong point of view, thanks to Kosins' dedication to the source material—she fastidiously combed through not just CD reissues but loads of obscure material made for radio broadcasts and such to find the perfect mix of tunes. As a singer, her voice is pure pleasure, flecked with warmth and a golden hue that swings to the Oscar Peterson pitch of "Learning' The Blues" and the easy-going beat under "All I Need Is You." "Free and Easy" has that George Shearing vibe going on, as does "Lullaby In Rhythm," a finger-poppin' highlight that's lifted by Kosins' wordless bebop vocals and succinct band solos. Under the soft lilt of a bossa nova beat, Kosins illuminates the album's closer, "Where Are You" by taking a lyric like "where is the happy ending" and infusing it with equal parts longing and confident independence. But swing is the thing on Ladies Of Cool, and the remarkable spin on these chestbuts is something you can raise a glass to. (10 tracks; 50:32 minutes)
"Kathy Kosins is the rare jazz vocalist who chooses to salute earlier singers by mostly picking less familiar songs they recorded while also putting her individual stamp on them."
All Music by Rovi
"To the Ladies of Cool" simmers and shimmers, swings and soothes – like the 4 women she celebrates, Kathy Kosins... is the singer in front of an impressive ensemble performing a fine program of good songs.
Culture Creator Richard B. Kamins - Step Tempest
JazzTimes Reviews Kathy Kosins' To the Ladies of Cool
Anita O'Day, June Christy and Chris Connor are often treated as interchangeable because they followed one another in the Stan Kenton band and because their shared predilection for minimal vibrato resulted in their being forever clustered as A-plus graduates of the "cool school." Truth is, each had a very distinct style and each carved out a very singular career. In choosing to salute all three (along with Julie London who, though equally cool, matriculated from an entirely different school), Kathy Kosins wisely appreciates both their similarities and their differences. The album is neither a tribute —Kosins steers clears of their signature tunes—nor an attempt at imitation. Instead, as she suggests in the liner notes, it is a collective "toast" to their sterling musicianship.
Digging deep into their songbooks, Kosins unearths such obscurities as "November Twilight," from London's Calendar Girl of 1959; the gossamer "Free and Easy," written by London's husband Bobby Troup in a rare union with Henry Mancini; Charles DeForest's gorgeous kiss-off "Don't Wait Up for Me" (recorded by Connor in 1954); and Billy Strayhorn's spirited perspective on infidelity, "Kissing Bug," from Christy's '59 gem Ballads for Night People.
On the ballads, Kosins inches close to London's libidinous languor. On the more upbeat numbers, there is strong suggestion of Diana Krall—no stranger herself to the influence of the honorees. But it is pianist Tamir Hendelman's arrangements—smoke-filled and mink-wrapped—that most genuinely capture the zeitgeist of these ladies' incomparably cool salad days.
"This is Kathy Kosins' debut for Resonance Records and it's one that should be in your collection."
Sounds of Timeless Jazz
"If you have not heard of vocalist Kathy Kosins before that's too bad, because she is the real deal."
Pierre Giroux — Audiophile Audition
"...delivering a highly polished set of 10 thoughtfully chosen songs..."
"'She thinks like a musician' is one of the finest compliments you can give a jazz vocalist, and Detroit native Kathy Kosins is often at the receiving end of that comment."
Jon Norton — WGLT Music Director
"...Her words flow as effortlessly as maple syrup over hot pancakes..."
Ralph A Miriello — Jazz Journalist
"...instead of rehashing Julie London’s “Cry Me a River,” she unearths a relative rarity: the melancholy “November Twilight,” which Kosins invests with her own sense of autumnal ruefulness."
George Bulanda — Hour Detroit
One thing I've always enjoyed about Kathy Kosins is her ability to "sell the song". Kosins is a melodic storyteller. Her voice is rich and warm as she interprets and vocally explores each song on this tribute CD.
"Learning the Blues" has always been a favorite of mine. I was introduced to it by Julie London's smokey style back in the days of the "Peter Gunn" television show. It was pleasant hearing Kosins bring this lovely tune back to life with a totally difference approach. Oh it's still bluesy, but...
Dee Dee — LAJazz.com
As a radio host I hear many CD's. Some I like and some I like a lot. Your CD falls into "Like A Lot" category. To add a punctuation mark, I have gotten many fine complements from my listeners as well. Keep serving up wonderful CD's like this, and watch your fan base grow. I'm one of them.
Alan Rock — Morning Host — WUCF Orlando, FL
Kosins has been laboring in the vineyards for a while making solid jazz vocal albums but this time around, the love is in the air from all quadrants. A tribute to a virtual Mt. Rushmore of 50s super thrushes, Kosins tips the chapeau to Chris Connor, Anita O'Day, June Christy and Julie London, making a load of signature songs her own but keeping the original spirit alive and well. As unique as the career moves she's been making all along, Kosins does the looking backward to look forard thing here in fine style. She even puts actual lyrics of Johnny Mandel's "Hershey's Kisses", originally an O'Day scat and gets the composer to sit up and pay attention. Hot stuff that does a fine job of celebrating cool. Check it out.
"To the Ladies of Cool" is just the sort of CD that inspires you as you enjoy it. This collection of great songs, performed by Kathy in her own unique style, will keep the musical memories fresh for a new generation of jazz lovers.
Malvin Massey — WUMR, Memphis, TN
Kosins is a multi-talented person. She is a singer, composer, songwriter, arranger, educator, and painter.
Michelle Humphrey — Examiner
"Kathy Kosins is a joy to hear. Her lyrics on Hershey's Kisses melt in her mouth."
Raise the glass and here's a toast. With To the Ladies of Cool, four standout vocal pioneers are deservedly celebrated.
Larry Taylor — All About Jazz
April 2012 issue of Jersey Jazz — Joe Lang
Among my favorite vocalists are the ladies like June Christy, Chris Connor, Anita O'Day and Julie London who defined the 1950s "cool school" of vocalizing. The songs sung by the four ladies mentioned above are the source for the program of singer Kathy Kosins on her fine new album, "To the Ladies of Cool" (Resonance - 1018). Kosins has wisely chosen to apply her own vocal sensitivities to 10 tunes that were among those performed by Christy, Connor, O'Day and London, with not even a hint of imitation. In doing so, she did not rely on the songs that are most associated with these ladies of song. There are no signature songs like Christy's "Something Cool," Connor's "All About Ronnie," O'Day's "Honeysuckle Rose" or London's "Cry Me a River." She opted for tunes that Kosins felt suited her stylistically and emotionally, and she renders them with taste, confidence, and a superb feel for phrasing that makes each lyric ring true. She did dig deep, as illustrated by the tune titled "Hershey's Kisses." The original Johnny Mandel melody was called "Hershey Bar," and had been done as a wordless vocal by O'Day. Kosins has added clever lyrics, and updated the title to reflect her words. Her instrumental support is supplied by pianist Tamir Handelman, who aso penned the hip arrangements, bassists Kevin Axt or Paul Keller, guitarist Graham Dechter, drummer and vibist Bob Leatherbarrow, reedman Steve Wilkerson and trumpeter/flugelhornist Gilbert Castellanos. This is a concept album of wonderful originality that recalls an era, but brings the music into the now. (www.resonancerecords.org)
Joe Lang — Jersey Jazz
This CD is perhaps one of her best, and one of the best of any contemporary jazz singer singing homage to four immortal women of jazz and pop.
Danny R. Johnson
...take the prolific talents of Kathy Kosins and the commitment to the finest recordings available from Resonance Records and the end result is a winner!
On jazz singers, Kathy Kosins' new album "To the Ladies of Cool," her lovely, soft and soothing voice made me want to curl up in her lap, and listen to her sing every song on the album over and over.
Charles L. Latimer — I Dig Jazz
Talk about having big ambition. That’s what jazz singer Kathy Kosins had plenty of when she set out to make “to the Ladies of Cool,” dedicated to four of her heroes Anita O’Day, June Christy, Chris Connor, and Julie London. Don’t mistake "to the Ladies of Cool, which Resonance Records releases March 13th, for a tribute album.
Charles L. Latimer — I Dig Jazz
Kosins' voice is prefect like a swimsuit model. On “to the Ladies of Cool,” Kosins performed material O’Day, Christy, Connor, and London help make famous such as “Nightbird,” “Don’t Wait Up for Me,” “Free and Easy,” and “November Twilight”. In fact, "to the Ladies of Cool" sounds as if those singer’s spirits were in the studio cheering Kosins on.
Weekly Music Review... Metro Times
Kathy Kosins’ To the Ladies of Cool (Resonance) is a tribute to some of jazz girl Kosins’ faves of the genre, including Anita O’Day, June Christy, Chris Connor and Julie London. It’s a suave, classy, beautiful record that features some incredible low-key musicianship and, of course, Kosins’ warm voice. The artists in question would surely approve.
Kathy Kosins' Don't Wait Up for Me is featured in USA Today's Playlist.
In recognition of Women's History Month, our March CD of the Month selection is To the Ladies of Cool: A Love Letter to Chris Connor, Anita O'Day, June Christy and Julie London by the veteran Detroit vocalist, Kathy Kosins. Not only were the honorees cool ladies, they were pioneers in shaping the vocal stylings of the West Coast cool jazz movement of the 1950s. With this in mind Ms. Kosins traveled to Los Angeles to record this inspired homage for the Los Angeles based, non-profit recording label, Resonance Records. Kathy made two very astute decisions, first her choices of songs-avoiding the over recorded standards, secondly, enlisting Tamir Hendelman to be her pianist and arranger. Hendelman is to be commended for his refreshing charts and impeccable playing as an accompanist as well when soloing.
Kathy Kosins most recent recording maybe a tribute To the Ladies of Cool, but the CD is already hot on the jazz radio charts and as fiery as her red hair!
Arturo Gómez – KUVO Music Director