By Mark Stryker, Free Press music critic

Published June 12, 2005
DETROIT DISC: Kosins unearths some gems

The aptly titled "Vintage" represents the best work yet by Kathy Kosins, a Detroit jazz singer with a sharp ear for obscure material and a taste for A-list accompanists and expressive phrasing that swings with studied casualness. She takes melodic and rhythmic liberties but almost always in the service of the lyrics. The CD is her first for Mahogany Jazz, a label started by singer Kevin Mahogany.

Other than a funky, post-modern deconstruction of "These Boots Are Made for Walkin,' " Kosins seems devoted to revitalizing the standard repertoire from deep within the tradition. There's a story behind every forgotten tune here: "Tomorrow Is Another Day" reworks the instrumental "Dear Old Stockholm" with rarely heard lyrics by King Pleasure. The torchy ballads "Go Slow" and "Nice Girls Don't Stay for Breakfast" were Julie London vehicles. "Look Out Up There" was a June Christy number. "When I'm With You," introduced by Shirley Temple, finds Kosins slowing the tempo to a dreamy crawl and melting into Aaron Goldberg's electric piano.

Goldberg wrote the inventive arrangements, devising subtle but distinctive frames that give the tunes a contemporary pop. The New York pros include bassist Reuben Rogers, drummer Eric Harland, guitarist Peter Bernstein, reed man John Ellis and flugelhornist Jeremy Pelt. A lesser singer might have been overshadowed; Kosins sounds at home.

By Mark Stryker, Free Press music critic

Kathy Kosins has several local appearances planned through the summer. See for details.

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