Okay... first there came Kate McGarry
's superb Girl Talk
(Palmetto, 2012). Then Sara Gazarek
followed her 2012 release with Triosence, Where Time Stands Still
(Charleston Square) with Blossom &Bee
(Palmetto, 2012). Now, vocalist Kathy Kosins
follows up her excellent Mood Swings
(Chiaroscuro, 2002) and inventive Vintage
(Self Produced, 2005) with To the Ladies of Cool
, a tribute to those tacitly LA-associated songbirds of the '40s and '50s: Anita O'Day
, June Christy
, Chris Connor
and Julie London
. This has been a grand jazz vocals season.
Los Angeles in the 1940s and '50s was a jazz incubator in search of a genre movement. The City of Angels found itself in the "cool" jazz given life by Miles Davis
' famous nonet recordings of 1949, The Birth of the Cool
(Capitol); not strictly accurate, but close enough for this purpose. All four these singers produced cool jazz, but that was after their stints in big bands during the last gasp of swing. Instrumentally, during this transitional period, West Coast jazz adopted a keen emphasis on arrangement, often to the point of over-arrangement. When a creative happy medium is achieved, the art of the arrangement is elevated to the level of composition; Kosins and company grasp this concept and run with it on To the Ladies of Cool
Elegance and sophistication are two descriptors perfectly capturing Kosins' intention on To the Ladies of Cool
. Pianist Tamir Hendelman
arranged all of the songs, taking great care to balance the modern and contemporary with the 1950s' chic art of LA's Central Avenue. His instrumental and rhythmic figures are calculated and precise, but not at the expense of the songs' natural swing.
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.
Personnel: Kathy Kosins: vocals; Tamir Hendelman: piano; Kevin Axt: bass (1, 5, 7,
8, 10); Paul Keller: bass (2, 3, 4, 6, 9); Graham Dechter: guitar; Bob
Leatherbarrow: drums, vibs; Steve Wilkerson: woodwinds; Gilbert
Castellanos: trumpet, flugelhorn.