AMG Expert Review By Alex Henderson
These days, jazz often functions as repertory music; there are plenty of faceless, totally predictable "Young Lions" (both instrumentalists and singers) who insist on doing the same old George Gershwin, Irving Berlin and Cole Porter standards the same old way. But Kathy Kosins, to her credit, doesn’t inundate listeners with beaten-to-death warhorses on Mood Swings. A jazz vocalist with R&B and pop influences, Kosins co-wrote seven of the 11 songs on this CD & her writing is decent on material that ranges from the languorous "Paradise" to the swinging "No Ordinary Joe". The only song on Mood Swings that jazz singers have beaten to death over the years is Don Redman’s "Gee Baby Ain’t I Good to You"; the other non-originals that Kosins successfully interprets range from Jackie Gleason’s "Melancholy Serenade" (which was the theme from the ‘50s sitcom The Honeymooners) to Jimi Hendrix’s "Foxy Lady". The latter is arguably Mood Swings’ most imaginative offering; while Hendrix’s original 1967 version of "Foxy Lady" was an early example of heavy metal/hard rock, Kosins demonstrates that the gem can also work well as dusky vocal jazz. To some myopic jazz snobs, a rock classic like "Foxy Lady" is something to be avoided. But Gil Evans didn’t feel that way, and Kosins obviously doesn’t either. Again, Kosins is a jazz singer with R&B and pop influences. Parts of Mood Swings are straight ahead jazz, and parts of it favor more of a crossover/quiet storm approach. And why should Kosins be a jazz snob? Rock, R&B and jazz all thrive on blues feeling and are all part of the same family. Mood Swings isn’t a masterpiece, but it is a generally pleasant, respectable effort that finds the Detroit native continuing to grow and move forward.