April 12, 2011

Nationally Recognized Jazz Vocalist to Appear at RSU Art Festival

Kathy Kosins, a nationally known, award-winning vocalist who has won the praise of critics and fans with her eclectic musical palette that expands jazz history, will be a featured artist at this year's Art on the Hill Festival on April 29-30 at Rogers State University.

The Art on the Hill Festival will be held on the lawn of the RSU campus in Claremore from noon to 8 p.m. Friday, April 29 and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, April 30. The festival is free and open to the public.

Kosins will provide a free public jazz concert at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 30, in the Will Rogers Auditorium.

She also will give a free music business clinic at 3 p.m. Friday, April 29, in room 104 of Baird Hall on the RSU campus. The clinic is for aspiring musicians and the general public, and will focus on identifying suitable performance venues, securing concert dates, developing employment contracts, paying musicians and staff and submitting necessary tax documents.

Kosins, who also is an abstract painter, will provide a free art demonstration at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 30, at the Baird Hall amphitheater. The demonstration will be a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the creative process. Kosins' paintings will be on display and for sale at the art festival.

Kosins was raised during the Motown era of Detroit. She began singing and arranging background vocals for producer Don Was in the early 1980s, which led to her becoming one of the nation's most sought-after session singers. As a lead vocalist, she recorded for both Carrere (Sony) and Quality Records and later toured with the group Was/Not Was.

In the early 1990s, Kosins, a writer and arranger, embraced the freedom of the jazz art form, and her writing naturally evolved into a more traditional approach. Stints with the JC Heard and Nelson Riddle Orchestras followed and led to the 1996 release of "All in a Dreams Work," her debut CD, featuring a collection of nine original songs and a cover of the Miles Davis composition "Four."

Her 2002 release of the CD "Mood Swings" continued to bring her recognition and success at the national level. On her 2006 release of "Vintage," she rediscovered little-known songbook gems which she placed alongside a few widely known, yet unexpected tunes from outside the jazz tradition.

A jazz pioneer, Kosins decided to take a different approach in 2010 by releasing singles quarterly under the new Mahogany Digital label, rather than an entire CD every few years.

"The tradition of releasing singles runs deep in jazz music. Singles enable artists the freedom to create and record on a natural timeline that corresponds with fan demand and tour schedules. If a live audience falls in love with a new song, I can record and release it to radio while the music is fresh and hot. This is something you can't do if you're committed in advance to a full album release," said Kosins.

Named Jazz Composer of the Year by the Michigan Council for the Arts, Kosins has received grants from Michigan's Art Serve advocacy group. Her clinics and workshops teach performance skills alongside business strategies for the independent artist and have been a success at colleges and universities across the nation.

When not touring the U.S. or Europe, Kosins works as a painter. Her abstract acrylics on canvas are influenced by the cubist paintings of the 1950s. Commissioned paintings are held in private collections across the nation, and Kosins continues to sell her work at both gallery shows and concert performances.

Kosins has recorded with many well-known jazz and rhythm and blues artists including Aaron Goldberg, Reuben Rogers, Eric Harland, Peter Bernstein, Larry Koonse, Tamir Hendelman, Robert Hurst, Jeremy Pelt, Jon Ellis, Howard Levy, Don Was, Michael Henderson, Paul Keller and many others.

She has shared the stage and performed with numerous names in the jazz and rhythm and blues world. A few notables include Cyrus Chestnut, Terell Stafford, Randy Brecker, Javon Jackson, Larry Goldings, James Moody, Kevin Mahogany, Bernard Purdie, Greg Hutchinson, Eric Harland, Red Holloway, Grant Green Jr., Reuben Rogers, Reuben Wilson, Aaron Goldberg, Tamir Hendelman, Jesse Davis, Eric Marienthal, Mitch Ryder and Michael Henderson.

For more information on the RSU Art on the Hill Festival, and for a schedule of events, visit