Kathy Kosins takes a giant step forward in artistic weight class with one of the premier vocal releases for the year with The Space Between.
Brent Black / @CriticalJazz
So I am heading out to my mailbox in anticipation of what sonic treasures the good people at the U.S. Postal Service left in my box. With The Space Between from Kathy Kosins, Christmas came early. The female jazz vocal pack is a tightly clustered group of individuals that more often than not come across as pre-packaged entities straight from the corporate boardroom of whatever media conglomerate they may be signed to that particular week. Kathy Kosins transcends the world of singer to that of vocal artist by not only having a keen ear for giving life to some rarities that may otherwise go unnoticed but her vocals demand your immediate attention. Tone, timing, pitch, phrasing is all there and all spot on.
The musical cast of co-conspirators here are A list and each a legitimate leader in their own right. Perhaps the hottest pianist going in Tamir Hendelman, Bob Hurst on bass, Eric Harland on drums and Larry Koonse on guitar all bring forth a musical synergy with Kosins as the lyrical focal point of this dynamic recording. Two bonus tracks are included with the first, "Go Slow" recorded live at the Jazz Standard and an homage to her critically acclaimed release aptly titled To The Ladies Of Cool. The second track is a perfect vehicle to highlight her deceptively subtle R & B influences with an ambient nu jazz riff on the 1961 Al Cohn tune "Night Bird." The Space Between is cutting edge when held up to some of her contemporaries for critical review. Never taking the easy road of banging out a dozen standards simply because she can, Kosins weaves her magic as a vocal artist and moves straight to the top of the vocal jazz food chain. To be clear, Kathy Kosins is not one of the better female vocalists you may hear but vocalists period.
Sometimes working as a critic one feels more like an artistic prospector sifting through hundreds of releases to find that one precious stone that has made his own labor of love well worth the effort. There are far too many vocal releases from artists that would be better served saving their money when in fact their future would clearly have them never leaving the club circuit or happy hour at the local Marriott, Kathy Kosins is not one these artists.
Easily on my year end Best of 2013.
Tracks: Drowning In A Sea Of Love; Song For My Father; Don't Be On The Outside; Spring Is Where You Are; You'd Better Love Me While You May; You Fascinate Me So; Social Call; I Keep Going Back To Joe's; You Were Only Passing By; Go Slow (Live At The Jazz Standard); Night Bird (In Summer).
Personnel: Kathy Kosins: Vocals; Tamir Hendelman: Piano; Robert Hurst: Bass; Eric Harland: Drums/Percussion; Larry Koonse: Guitar (Tracks 6,9).