Award-winning vocalist Kathy Kosins flew in from Detroit to perform with the University of La Verne faculty jazz quartet Sunday in Morgan Auditorium for the monthly Sundays at the Morgan concert series.
The faculty jazz quartet includes Woodwinds Instructor Steve Alaniz on saxophone, Senior Jazz Piano Instructor Gayle Serdan on piano, Electric Bass Instructor Andrew Ford on bass and Percussion Instructor Bob Dominguez on drums.
“We all get together and play every so often, about once a year to do faculty concerts,” Dominguez said. “This is our first time performing with Kathy.”
The band performed a variety of soulful songs backing up Kosins, who sang a mixture of jazz and R&B favorites and some of her original songs.
Kosins has recorded for both Sony and Quality Records.
She has also received songwriting awards from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers and the Michigan Council for the Arts.
“The lyrics of Kathy’s originals ring true presently and are a grand reflection of our past in some cases,” Serdan said. “Her compositions are witty as well as cerebral.”
Kosins has also recorded with many well-known artists such as Was (Not Was), Aaron Goldberg and Reuben Rogers.
“It was a great experience being able to accompany such an incredible and soulful artist,” Serdan said.
The faculty members of the band have all been a part of the La Verne community for about 15 years.
Serdan and Ford are also alumni.
“I started playing the bass guitar when I was 14 years old, but I didn’t get serious about playing until I came to school here,” Ford said.
Playing music isn’t just a hobby for these faculty members; it is a large part of their lives.
For example, Ford tours frequently as a professional bassist.
“I get asked to go on tour quite a bit with different artists and different bands,” Ford said.
“It’s great being able to travel to so many different places; I’ve been to every continent.”
He has played with Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan, James Ingram and Randy Crawford, among others.
The members of the band became interested in music early on in life, learning to play their instruments when they were children.
“I’ve been playing since I was 5 years old,” Serdan said. “I have a tattoo on my right foot of one of my biggest musical inspirations, Dr. Lonnie Smith, an American jazz Hammond B3 organist.”
Dominguez has been involved with a variety of different bands, including Latin and cumbia acts.
“I’ve been playing the drums since I was 6 years old,” Dominguez said. “My dad was the reason I started playing drums. He is my biggest inspiration.”
The members of the quartet had several solos throughout the night highlighting their skills.
“When it comes to music, I am more passionate about the opportunity to share the jazz experience with others,” Serdan said.
“It is an incredible art form that unfolds differently each time you perform together. The performance is about the creative experience happening spontaneously and soulfully.”
The next Sundays at the Morgan concert will feature violinist Vinjay Gupta and pianist Grace Xia Zhao at 6 p.m. Nov. 8.
Camila Rios can be reached at email@example.com.