Marcus Johnson w/ Kathy Kosins


Jul 24, 2018 – 8:00 PM - 10:30 PM

1200 Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60607 Map

  • Marcus Johnson

More Info

As an independent Billboard-ranked musician, producer, owner of a music label, Three Keys Music, and NAACP Image Aware nominee, International Jazz Keyboardist/Pianist Marcus Johnson has emerged as one of the young lions of the music world. Johnson’s unique self-taught style of piano play has earned him distinction among his peers, praise within the media and accolades across the music industry. And now, he continues his quest for success in the business world with his lifestyle branding company, FLO Brands, LLC. ™

Johnson’s testament to his perseverance began in 1995 when he was pursuing both his MBA and Juris Doctorate degrees at Georgetown University, and decided to independently produce and distribute his first jazz album, Lessons in Love, which sold more than 40,000 units; a phenomenal success for an unknown independent artist’s debut release. This album helped him launch his career as a renowned jazz keyboardist/pianist. One year later, he released Inter Alia, with staggering success in the Kemp Mill retail chain, outselling the Titanic soundtrack in the first two weeks of its release. The success and attention that it brought led Johnson to sign a deal with N2K Encoded Music where he released several CDS until the label was sold in 1998.

Johnson’s success caught the attention of Black Entertainment Television (BET) founder and businessman Robert L. Johnson who invested in Marcus and his new found company, Marimelj Entertainment Group. Under their partnership, MEG’s label, Three Keys Music based in the Washington, DC metro area, established its own full service recording studio, Studio 8121; and two music publishing companies, Marimelj Music Publishing and Three Keys Music Publishing. Johnson was also responsible for releasing and producing CDs on the Three Keys label for national jazz artists Michael Lington, Jaared Arosemena, Bobby Lyle, Nick Colionne, R&B singer, Alyson Williams and neo-soul songstress Zahzarah and smooth jazz Saxophonists Phillip Martin and Brian Lenair.

Johnson spent several years heading the label and producing music on the aforementioned artists and over the next ten years, also released several critically acclaimed albums: Inter Alia, Chocolate City Groovin’; Coming Back Around; Urban Groove, In Person: Live at Blues Alley, Just Doing What I Do, Smooth Jazz Christmas and In Concert for a Cause, all charting at Top 20 or more on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Charts.

Marcus has released more than fifteen (15) Billboard charted CDs, and has the distinction of having his groundbreaking 2008 Billboard Top 20 Contemporary Jazz FLO (For the Love Of) CDs which consisted of three distinct albums -- FLO Chill, FLO Romance and FLO Standards , all charting Top 10 on Billboard Contemporary Jazz Charts simultaneously. Johnson’s previous solo 2007 release, The Phoenix, was widely lauded by jazz critics and aficionados alike and like Johnsons previous CDs, it peaked in the Top 20 of Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz charts.

It should also be mentioned that Johnson’s next Top 20 Contemporary jazz releases, the unique and multi-faceted Poetically Justified ( 2009) and This Is How I Rock (2011) solidified Marcus Johnson as heir apparent to the George Duke and Herbie Hancock style of funky urban groove music. Creatively, Johnson continues to evolve as an artist. With the recent release of his FLO: Holiday CD and the ongoing collaboration with famed Parisian Producer DJ Pulse – as the musical duo “Juris” – he has managed to maintain his traditional jazz roots, while also remaining on the forefront of the expanding “Euro Jazz” movement. His music continues to enforce and define his musical legacy as a “jazz movement for all people”.

Now, with firm footing in the ever-expanding music world, Johnson has moved on to grow his lifestyle branding company, FLO Brands, LLC,tm aptly titled For the Love Of ; at its core, FLO began as a musical publishing and lifestyle branding company to house all of Johnson’s musical and entrepreneurial ventures. The scope and reach of the company has expanded and FLO Brands launched FLO Wines, LLC in the first quarter of 2012 with overwhelming success. Joined at the helm by President/Co-Founder, Robert Piziali and Sean Johnson, COO and Chief Financial Officer, and the financial support of The Wentworth Group, Marcus Johnson’s FLO Wines has captured the taste buds of wine lovers from California to South Carolina. A masterful marketing plan ignited by Marcus Johnson’s “Sips & Sounds” performances has married music and wine For the Love Of concept.

ASCAP award-winning vocalist Kathy Kosins has won the hearts of critics and fans around the globe with her eclectic musical palette that expands the rich history of Jazz and Soul.

Born and bred during the Motown era of Detroit, she began singing and arranging background vocals for producer Don Was (now president of Blue Note Records) in the early eighties, which led to her becoming one of the most sought after session singers. As a lead vocalist she recorded for both Carrere (Sony) and Quality Records and later toured with Was/Not Was.

In the early "90s, Kosins, a ferocious writer and arranger, fell in love with the freedom of the jazz art form and her writing naturally evolved into a more traditional approach. Stints with the JC Heard and Nelson Riddle Orchestras followed and led to a 1996 release of "All In A Dreams Work" (SchoolKids Records), an impressive debut featuring a first rate collection of nine originals and a cover of the Miles Davis composition "Four." Reported by over 250 Jazz stations, she reached the top 20 in the Gavin Report.

Her 2002 release of "Mood Swings" (Chiaroscuro Records) continued to bring her recognition and success at the national level. On her 2006 release of "Vintage," (Mahogany Jazz), she rediscovered little known songbook gems which she placed alongside a few widely known, yet unexpected tunes from outside the jazz tradition, which brought her glowing reviews from journalists.

In 2012, she released “To The Ladies Of Cool”, a dedication to the West Coast Cool school of artists like June Christy, Chris Connor, Julie London, and Anita O’Day. Kathy’s arrangements of those classic pieces stay true to the tradition of lyricism and understatement, yet sound so fresh and innovative that it is sometimes hard to believe those songs have been recorded some 50 plus years ago.

“The Space Between” from 2013 finds her in the studio with some of LA’s best musicians like Tamir Hendelman (piano), Robert Hurst (bass), Eric Harland (drums), and Larry Koonse on guitar on several obscure tracks that had been recorded by Shirley Horn or Nat King Cole. Her Jazz repertoire is always enhanced by her soulful vocal performance and it is no wonder, that she decided to include a Chill Mix of one of the tunes from the album (“Night Bird”) which puts her in another direction leading to her most recent album which is slated for a spring, 2018 release.

With the working title “Uncovered Soul”, Kathy has recorded this ultra soulful set with Grammy Award-winning producer Kamau Kenyatta (Gregory Porter) and a stellar cast of musicians: Greg Moore (guitar), Mitch Foreman (piano,keys), Kevin Axt (bass), Eric Harland (drums), and Munyungo (percussion). On the album, she explores rarely heard Soul and R&B tunes by famous songwriters like Curtis Mayfield, Eugene McDaniels, or Aaron Neville and also more contemporary tunesmiths like Amos Lee. It’s a well- balanced set catering to both Jazz fans and Soul aficionados alike and destined to become a future classic as it creates a sultry mood and features her most intense and intimate singing yet.

A past recipient of the Michigan Council for the Arts (Jazz Composer of the Year), Kosins has received grants from Michigan’s ArtServe advocacy group. Her clinics and workshops teach performance skills alongside business strategies for the independent artist and have been a success at colleges and universities across the USA.

When not touring the USA or Europe, Kathy excels as a painter. Her abstract acrylics on canvas are influenced by the cubist paintings of the "50s. Commissioned paintings are held in private collections and Kosins continues to sell her work at both gallery shows and concert performances. She also is known to paint as a multi media artist from the stage during various performances.

Kosins has recorded with many well known jazz and R&B artists to include Aaron Goldberg, Reuben Rogers, Eric Harland, Peter Bernstein, Larry Koonse, Tamir Hendelman, Robert Hurst, Jeremy Pelt, Jon Ellis, Howard Levy, Don Was, Martin Wind, Ben Wolfe, Michael Henderson and more.

She has shared the stage and performed with numerous names in the jazz and R&B world. A few notables are: Cyrus Chestnut, Terell Stafford, Randy Brecker, Javon Jackson, Larry Goldings, James Moody, Kevin Mahogany, Bernard Purdie, Greg Hutchinson, Eric Harland, Red Holloway, Grant Green Jr., Reuben Rogers, Reuben Wilson, Aaron Goldberg, Tamir Hendelman, Jesse Davis, Eric Marienthal, Matt Wilson, Mitch Ryder, Was/Not Was and Michael Henderson.
VIP: $28.00 - Front Premier: $25.00 - Premier: $22.00 - Reserved: $18.00
Marcus Johnson: When pianist Marcus Johnson walks into the room, his presence is a bit disarming. It's not that his elegant business suits and fashionable accessories belie the sheer elegance of his music - as tasty a blend as ever of contemporary jazz stylings and hip-hop rhythms; it's more that his demeanor does not necessarily suggest musician. In an industry that thrives on pigeonholing, Marcus Johnson is a difficult bird to cage.

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