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Jazz singer comes to North Central College stage

Singer Kathy Kosins brings her brand of rich jazz and R&B to Naperville March 2.

The award-winning Detroit singer takes to the stage at 6 p.m. Sunday in North Central College’s Madden Theatre.

Kosins will present an evening of standards and surprises, she said.

“I’m doing all sorts of different material for this particular concert,” she said. “I’m going to go into my bag of CDs from the ’90s to 2013 and pull songs from some of each of those, and I’ll pull in material on top of that. And I may call stuff at the last minute. It’s like going to a buffet table — we’ll pull a little of this and a little of that and decide what’s best for our audience.”

She will be accompanied on piano by Jeremy Kahn.

“When I work in tandem with a pianist, I like to call those concerts The Art of the Duo. He’s brilliant and can play anything. No matter what we do, it will be a work of art,” she said. “It will be a very intimate conversation between a vocalist and an accompanist. It takes a trained ear and a sensitive persona to accompany a vocalist and have it come off sounding like she’s being backed by a 30-piece orchestra.”

Her 2012 record, called “To the Ladies of Cool,” is a tribute to the West Coast Cool jazz movement of the 1950s and ’60s. On it, she celebrates the artistry of Anita O’Day, Chris Connor, Julie London and June Christy.

“We’ll do a handful of tunes from that record and pepper in songs from those four women’s discographies that never made it to my record, but that were a big part of those women’s careers,” she said. “That will be a good chunk of the performance. Then I’ll do some things from my 2013 release, ‘The Space Between,’ and I might do something from my 2006 release called ‘Vintage,’ and I might do a tune from my 2002 CD called ‘Mood Swings.’ Whatever we have time to do that makes the most sense, we’ll do.”

A visual artist as well, Kosins will bring along some of her paintings that represent her interpretations of audio recordings by the jazz greats. She’s even been known to paint from the stage if the mood strikes her.

Additionally, she brings work for professional musicians when she tours.

“I work with musicians all over the world. I never put a band on an airplane,” she said. “I find it’s not necessary. There are amazing musicians all over the country and (abroad) who can read my charts. If I have a good rehearsal, I’m in good shape. And it gives me the opportunity to have a musical conversation with guys who don’t speak a word of English. It’s the universal language.”

She became an international touring artist in 2008, and it’s been “the biggest adventure of my life.”

A songwriter as well, she is working on a new album of original material.

“I did a lot of original material on my first couple of discs, and then I didn’t really have time to sit down and write,” she said. “I think there are a lot of brilliant artists on this planet and I think you don’t have to look very far and one can become inspired.”

Kosins’ show will be well-suited to the intimate Madden Theatre, something she’s excited about.

“It’s like a glorified house concert, and I can really connect to the audience that way, and that’s what I love to do,” she said.

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