Meet Linda Kosut: Linda is a moving and entertaining performer best known for her passionate and interpretive skill with lyrics and the "story song. She is evocative and compelling with her unique stylings of jazz standards and pop tunes. Her voice recalls "a smoky plaintiveness similar to Sarah Vaughn, but with an edge worthy of Janis Joplin.
Linda recently presented her latest show, Long As You're Living: A Tribute to the Music, Life, Legacy and Spirit of jazz legend Oscar Brown Jr. Including sold out performances at San Francisco's renowned Jazz at Pearls -Maggie Brown, Oscar's daughter, came in from Chicago to perform with Linda. The show will tour in New York, Chicago, Washington DC and Los Angeles over the next six months.
"The music, the poetry, everything about the show was outstanding. Yes, it was classic jazz and very soul-filled. Yet to say only that is an understatement. Jonathan Farrell, SF Bay Times Critics Pick the Best of 2006.
Linda studied acting in New York at the Claude Underwood Studios, and voice/cabaret performance at The Actors Institute. Linda is also a 1990 Fellow of the Cabaret Symposium of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center.
Teachers and/or influences? My influences range from classic folk (Peter, Paul and Mary, Kingston Trio, Judy Collins), '60s rock 'n roll, R&B, jazz vocalists (Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, Oscar Brown Jr.)
But I am mostly influenced by the lyric of any song. If the song tells a story that I can get into and get underneath, and the story is inspiring, well, that's that.
I knew I wanted to be a musician when... I sat at the piano with my daddy while he played everything (by ear) and sang with me and taught me how to harmonize. And then, I would sing and dance in the living room along with the performers who appeared on the TV variety shows, with my family as my audience.
Your sound and approach to music: I have a sultry sound, a quiet sound, and a distinct and authentic approach to singing. I don't "act" a lot and yet I bring all my theatrical skills to bear in my performances.
Your teaching approach: I teach performance technique. When you are a singer on a stage with just a piano and an audience, how do you just stand up there and deliver. How do you interpret the music; the lyrics? What is it you want to say to your audience? How do you want your audience to feel when they leave you shows -you want them to like you! I believe in authenticity. I believe that one has to do their homework when it comes to giving your audience their "monies' worth!"
What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing? Venues and audience! What else is there to say? This is true for any style of music.
What is in the near future? I am going into the studio mid-March to record the music of Oscar Brown Jr. The CD, Long As You're Living will be available in June, 2007.
By Day: I work as a contract executive assistant to CEOs of small and start-up companies.
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.