Kosins to be special guest at free ‘Jazz Night @ Lee College’

Kathy Kosins
Kathy Kosins

BAYTOWN, TX — Award-winning jazz singer and songwriter Kathy Kosins will bring her internationally acclaimed vocals and eclectic musical palette to Lee College as the special guest star at the free “Jazz Night @ Lee College” concert set for Friday, Nov. 11, at the Performing Arts Center (PAC).

Jazz Night @ Lee College will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the PAC Main Performance Hall. The show is open the public, and tickets are not required.

Born and bred during the Motown era of Detroit, Kosins was a sought-after session singer throughout the 1980s, known for singing and arranging background vocals for producer Don Was. After finding and falling in love with the freedom and artistry of jazz music, she completed stints with the JC Heard and Nelson Riddle orchestras and released “All In A Dream’s Work” in 1996. The debut album featured original songs and a cover of “Four” by Miles Davis, earning Kosins play on 250 jazz stations across the country.

Kosins recorded multiple albums throughout the 2000s, including “Mood Swings” in 2002 and “To The Ladies Of Cool” in 2012. For “The Space Between,” released in 2013, she worked in the studio with some of the best musicians in Los Angeles to bring new life to little-known records by Shirley Horn and Nat King Cole, among others. Her newest album — the sultry and intimate “Uncovered Soul” — will also feature rarely heard records by legendary and contemporary soul performers like Curtis Mayfield, Eugene McDaniels, Aaron Neville, and Amos Lee.

Described by critics as “one of the most alluring voices in jazz” and “a joy to listen to,” Kosins has toured and performed at events and venues throughout the U.S. and Europe — from jazz festivals in France and Switzerland to clubs and concert halls in New York, Washington, Philadelphia and Chicago.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Free jazz concerts at the PAC

BAYTOWN, TX — Lee College’s own Thursday Night Band and Bayou Big Band will take the stage at the Performing Arts Center (PAC) for a free, jazz-filled weekend that will also feature an improv clinic and concert from Michael Davis, the acclaimed trombonist and composer widely known for his work with The Rolling Stones and the legendary Frank Sinatra.

Michael Davis
Michael Davis

The first of two free events bound for the PAC Main Hall is “Jazz @ Lee College,” set for 7:30 p.m., Friday, April 8. Both the Thursday Night Band and Bayou Big Band will perform at the annual concert, which will include a mix of old and new big band-style instrumentals.

The GCIC Jazz Fest will begin at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, April 9, in the PAC Main Hall. Various ensembles from the Texas Gulf Coast community colleges will perform on stage throughout the morning and afternoon, with the Thursday Night Band and Bayou Big Band from Lee College set for 4 and 4:30 p.m., respectively. Davis will offer an improv clinic at 1 p.m., and return to the stage at 7:30 p.m. for a performance with the GCIC Directors Band. The Campus Activities Board is sponsoring his appearance.

Born in San Francisco, Davis quickly found his stride with the trombone in high school and attended college at the prestigious Eastman School of Music. His big break came in 1983 with a call to sign on with the Buddy Rich Band. Three years later, Davis’ career as a freelance recording artist began in earnest and he quickly developed a reputation as one of the best trombonists in the business. In addition to touring and recording with The Rolling Stones since 1994 and Sinatra from 1988-1994, he has also worked with Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, Tony Bennett, Jay-Z, Sarah Vaughan, Sting, Beck, Sheryl Crow, Lyle Lovett, Paul Simon, and dozens of others in a career that has spanned three decades.

As a music educator, Davis has taught workshops and clinics for students around the world and written instructional books and arrangements for musicians at every skill level. He is the founder, creator and president of Hip-Bone Music, Inc. — through which he maintains his own jazz groups and projects — and the recipient of multiple awards from the National Endowment for the Arts. Davis has released nine solo CDs and composed more than 150 works during his career, and appeared on more than 500 CDs and motion picture soundtracks. In 2011, the S.E. Shires Company introduced the special edition Michael Davis Trombone in his honor.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite center in nearby Liberty, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 13 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Saxophonist Woody Witt to be special guest for ‘Jazz @ Lee College’

WoodyWittInternationally known Houston saxophonist, composer and music educator Woody Witt will be the special guest artist at the free ‘Jazz @ Lee College’ concert set for Friday, Nov. 6, at the Performing Arts Center.

An annual showcase that also features the college’s own Thursday Night Band and Bayou Big Band, Jazz @ Lee College will begin at 7:30 p.m., in the main performance hall.

Witt holds a doctorate in musical arts from the University of Houston, where he is also an Affiliate Artist. He teaches full-time at Houston Community College, and served as the manager and artistic director of Cezanne — a world-renowned venue and one of the city’s only jazz clubs — for 10 years.

Despite his academic credentials and popularity as a master-class instructor and guest artist, critics have described Witt’s musical approach as full of soul and genuine emotion. His distinctive saxophone style is instantly recognizable: a unique tenor voice with a full-bodied sound and modern edge that catches the listener’s ear. He has performed in major cities and venues around the world, including two tours in France and a stint in the traveling Broadway production of “42nd Street.”

Witt has released and/or been featured on more than 25 recordings, most recently his solo album “Pots and Kettles” on the Bamboo Music label. He has been a Yamaha Performing Artist for more than 15 years and in 2010 was selected to receive a grant from Chamber Music America.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite center in nearby Liberty, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 13 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.