Linda Kosut: Press & Reviews
"San Francisco-based jazz/cabaret vocalist Kosut —amazing Bay Area canary — brings her skills as an actress to her insightful interpretations of songs underscored with a fusion of jazz, pop and folk"
May 7, 2012
By Lisa Starbird, Bread & Roses Program Assistant
As Marcia brought down the last of the residents to the dining room, Dave Austin entertained his audience with some lively piano selections. When all was ready the show was introduced and Linda began her program with some weather related songs like “April Showers” and “Blue Skies.” From there she went into a varied program of other favorites such as “Bye, Bye, Blackbird” and “Don’t Fence Me In” accompanied very ably by Dave. She asked the audience to join in the singing, which some of them did on certain songs. One man even harmonized as Linda sang.
Later in the program Linda asked what branch of the services the residents had served in and where they had served. The residents enthusiastically shouted out the answers. They seemed so proud of what they had done. Linda thanked them for their service to the country. As she sang the last song, “I’ll Remember You,” she moved around the room and looked the men and women in the eyes as she sang. There was a wonderful personal connection between the singer and her audience.
After the show one of the men asked me if they could come back and do a one hour concert. He said it would mean so much to the men. That says it all. The VA audience thoroughly enjoyed their afternoon with Linda and Dave.
" ... tonight I sit here and watch a gal who already has my respect, WOW me once again with a great band (Tedd Firth, Tom Hubbard, Jeff Lederer & Joe Abba) and vocals and energy but it's also her song choices and what she does with them that makes a person sit up and say, "She's FANTASTIC!" She's got what ya can't buy ... CHARM." Read the entire article here. (when you get to the page, scroll down to my review!)
"... vivacious songstress — attired in a spring silk dress in crimson — sailed through an evening of music that was lush, heartfelt, full of beautiful storytelling"
" ... Kosut delivers her material with assured delight in a husky alto combined with a flair for augmenting the theatricality of each number...[she is] still breaking new ground and improving like a fine wine."
JAZZ REVIEW - Don Heckman, Special to the L.A. Times Linda Kosut finds her groove in Oscar Brown Jr.'s music The singer hits all the right notes on her 'Long as You're Living' tribute to the musician at the Jazz Bakery. OSCAR BROWN JR. was an authentic American original, a 20th century Whitmanesque voice of insight, reason and imagination. Accomplished as a songwriter, performer, playwright, poet, essayist, activist and much more, he may simply have been too diverse to garner the acknowledgment that his enormous talents so clearly deserved. Two years after his death at the age of 78, the creative legacy of this African American from Chicago is beginning to receive some attention via the efforts of an unlikely source: singer LINDA KOSUT, a self-described "white Jewish girl from the Bronx." Kosut has released "Long as You're Living," a recording of Brown's songs and poetry, and her nightclub show tribute bearing the same title has been performed in venues around the country for the last year. On Tuesday, "Long As You're Living" made it to the Jazz Bakery for a one-night presentation. It deserved a far longer run. Kosut is correct to note the differences between her background and Brown's. But it was precisely those differences that underscored the universality of Brown's art as well as the versatility Kosut brought to her interpretations. Wisely, she never attempted to sing the Brown songs in any style other than her own, with its warm, dark sound and articulate, theatrically trained phrasing. Her rendering of Brown's lyrics for Thelonious Monk's " 'Round Midnight," for example, blended late-night storytelling with the life-defining metaphors of his poem "This Beach." A seemingly unlikely combination, it was, instead, an illuminating view into the complex byways of Brown's imagination. Other songs -- "Mr. Kicks," "A Dime Away From a Hot Dog" and "Long as You're Living" -- displayed Brown's extraordinary capacity to combine multilayered insights with engagingly communicative language. Kosut, accompanied by the Max Perkoff Trio, tackled it all with splendid results. And she was the first to acknowledge, after the set, that for all its entertaining excellence, "Long as You're Living" only opens the door to Brown's treasure trove of creative works.
"In a New York Times obituary, Peter Keepnews noted, 'Mr. Brown was often described as a jazz singer … [but] preferred to call himself an entertainer, although even that broad term did not go far enough.' Indeed, he [OBJ] was as consummate an actor as he was a singer and songwriter, and it takes as fine an actor as Brown to do proper justice to his songs. So, it seems altogether fitting that a female cabaret performer (the best of such artists renowned for their superior ability to act more than sing songs), particularly one as gutsy as Linda Kosut, should pay album-length tribute to Brown.
Ms. Kosut’s deft handling of the variety of material that’s here - from dark and bluesy - the opening “A Tree And Me” - to lighter material, such as “Mr. Kicks” or “Hazel’s Hips,” shows the many facets not only of Mr. Brown’s work - but her own talent. The transitions are seamless, and her way with a lyric makes Mr. Brown’s words come alive.
It was an acquired taste. But once I acquired it, this disc went into heavy rotation on the ‘pod.
"... a new female jazz singer who commands one’s attention ... a vocal performance which deserves mention"
"Kosut took total control of the stage and never let go"
She gives Brown’s songs a fresh slant ... songs that showcase her vocal ability ... bang in the groove ... slinky and sly in unraveling the blues ... show her mettle as a jazz singer.
Songs and Stories: Linda Kosut Live at Jazz At Pearls Multi-award-winning singer Linda Kosut brought her tribute to Oscar Brown, Jr. (1926-2005), “Long As You’re Living” to Jazz at Pearls June 22 for two sets. I was there among the capacity crowd for the first set. Linda possesses a stage presence that is naturally relaxed while also being able to convey the emotions of each song’s story. The set was made up of songs from her Oscar Brown show with which she has been touring the country, interspersed with standards that shared similar emotional cadence and feel. In between songs Linda would talk with the audience, sharing the background of a piece’s history. This never disrupted the flow of the set and never felt show-bizzy. There was an instant rapport with the audience, which lent an intimacy to the entire set.
I am just listening to the last cut of Long As You’re Living, and you have really done something. I am so impressed. What a daring and a well-done piece and the work you put into doing this Oscar Brown project. Your singing is so true. On The Snake – you were so involved emotionally. And Bid ‘Em In. Wow! What courage to do that. And I love what you did on Hazel’s Hips. It’s a beautiful work of art. I’m sorry that I didn’t hear it sooner. And really happy to hear it at last.
This album is almost like a collaboration. Linda’s voice is definitely one of the stars of the show, yet Oscar’s personality is ever present. His lyrical intent is never lost or buried even as Linda manages to artistically sit by his side. She is a singer of great ability. The organic strength of her voice is deftly wielded so that she can handle complicated passages without any dead spaces being created from having to rein back.
Diversity is the Key at Bistros Linda Kosut was equally powerful in her rendition of an Oscar Brown Jr. song about a slave auction. click below to read the entire article.
"Your show was fantastic...you've got one powerful voice and you look terrific! You did more than justice to my song...which in my opinion fit you like a glove. Great arrangement by Max too. Thank you for taking such good care of my tune."
Linda Kosut has caught the meaning of his work, the profundity and the humour. I have enjoyed the CD at home and played it on air, and I will play it again. Her voice suits the lyrics and the backing charts are very supportive without getting in the way of all the nuances of the words. My congratulations to Linda and the guys, for doing their research and getting this tribute right without just singing the words and playing the notes.
The "Oscar" Award! The pairing of the legendary African-American composer, lyricist, performer, poet, playwright, essayist, actor, television series host, journalist, political candidate, activist, (etc.,) OSCAR BROWN JR., and vocalist LINDA KOSUT, a self-described "nice, white Jewish girl from the Bronx," has proved to be as surpassingly successful as it was unlikely.
"An accomplished and respectful tribute to the late songwriter-performer Oscar Brown, Jr. - The challenging repertoire - a classy and intimate listening experience"
"She swings, she’s bluesy, dramatic and playful paying homage to Brown’s thought- provoking material; bringing her own subtlety and emotion to the stage."
"Ms. Kosut is a charming, talented and straightforward performer - everyone came away captivated, informed and entertained."
Oscar Brown, Jr.'s writing is sometimes fiercely passionate, sometimes heartbreakingly tender and sometimes wryly humorous - and always poetic. Linda Kosut has the musical chops and interpretive skill to do it all full justice. The evening left me richly satisfied yet at the same time eager to hear more gems from the Brown/Kosut collaboration.
”Linda succeeds in showing the man's [Oscar Brown Jr.] versatility as a writer. This is hardly your conventional cabaret act. The sense of drama is something that this performer can call upon, and when she does, the act is at its most engaging. She has those theatre-cabaret muscles that are used well. The show is a welcome reminder of the multi-faceted work of the man who proudly defied being categorized or pigeon-holed by one kind of music. Linda Kosut doesn't seem to have much interest in being labeled either.”