Kevin Kozol: Piano, Keyboards
Kevin Kozol is a pianist, composer and educator that is rapidly gaining both national and international recognition. Originally from Chicago, Kevin is one the founding members of the jazz fusion trio, Spare Parts, which is currently signed to Ropeadope Records. The trio's last album, "Warehaus West Sessions, Vol.1," which received 5/5 stars in UK Vibe, features Fareed Haque, Bill Dickens and Rajiv Halim. Spare Parts has performed major festivals and venues both nationally and internationally over the years, including Peru Jazz Festival (Lima), Chi-Town Jazz Festival, Jazz Showcase, Andy's Jazz Club, Dazzle Jazz, Cliff Bells, House of Blues, Metro, Summer Camp Music Festival, Wakarusa Music Festival, and Congress Theater to name a few. Over the years, Spare Parts has shared the stage with musicians such as Wayne Krantz, Keith Carlock, Nate Wood, Victor Wooten, Fareed Haque, George Clinton, Lenny Pickett, Marco Benevento, Stanton Moore, Liquid Soul, The Jazz Mandolin Project and even Snoop Dogg.
In addition to Spare Parts, Kevin is currently touring/recording with guitar virtuoso, Fareed Haque and the Flat Earth Ensemble. The group recently released an album, “Return To The Joyous Lake", which is dedicated to the late great Pat Martino. One of the tracks on the album, “Line Games”, was featured on the Pat Martino tribute album, "Honoring Pat Martino, Volume 1". (on HighNote Records). This record features some of the world's greatest living guitarists including Russel Malone, Peter Bernstein, Oz Noy, Adam Rogers, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and Dave Stryker to name a few.
Throughout the years, the group has performed festivals/shows across North America, China, and Canada; including, Chicago Jazz Festival, Blue Note Beijing, Glen Ellyn Jazz Festival, Green Mill, Dazzle Jazz, Savannah Jazz, and Corazon Arts Center. While playing with Fareed Haque, Kevin has collaborated and performed with Grammy award winning musicians such as Indian percussionist, Vicki Vinayakram, V. Selvaganesh, and Paul Wertico. He has also shared the stage with jazz greats such as Javon Jackson, Bobby Watson, Ari Brown, Eric Alexander, Kenwood Dennard and George Brooks. Kevin can be heard playing piano on the upcoming Fareed Haque and the Flat Earth Ensemble album which will feature an all star cast of musicians including the great Paul Wertico on drums. This record is a tribute to great Haitian composer, Frantz Casseus and will be released in 2023.
Kevin is currently an adjunct professor at Harold Washington College where he teaches music theory/aural skills, group piano, and private lessons. Outside of the college, Kevin is an active clinician around the Chicagoland and Metro Detroit areas and has worked with the Illinois Music Educators Association for many years. He has given numerous master classes at some of the most highly acclaimed schools across the country. Kevin is the owner and founder of House Call Music LTD, which is a music teaching service in the Chicagoland and Metro-Detroit areas that provides high quality music instruction in the comfort of your own home.
Kevin was an endorsed Moog artist for several years and uses all vintage/ analog equipment in live performances including a Wurlitzer 200a, Fender Rhodes (Mark II), Honer Clavi C, and Moog Little Phatty..
UK VIBE ALBUM REVIEW
SPARE PARTS ‘WAREHAUS WEST SESSIONS VOL. 1’ CD/DIG (ROPEADOPE) 5/5
2ND AUGUST 2016
Had this album been released 40 years ago it probably would have been in small quantities on a local Chicago label (the band are based there) or as a private press, a forgotten gem only to be sought out years later by collectors for inflated prices. I say this partly because the music they play reminds me of the Jazz Fusion supergroups of the early ‘70s, but also because you get the sense that whilst the band have developed a local following they lack broader recognition. Now though Chicago, Illinois is just a click away. Spare Parts are Kevin Kozol (Fender Rhodes, Moog Little Phatty and Hohner Clavinet C), Colin Scott (electric bass) and Mike Bruno (drums and percussion). Scott and Bruno began playing together at high school, before forming the band with Kozol at Southern Illinois University in the early Noughties. Since then they have built a solid reputation as a live band performing in and around Chicago. “Warehaus Sessions..” is their sixth album to date.
Their music is not so much influenced as immersed in the sounds of ‘70s Jazz Fusion and groups like The Headhunters and The Tony Williams Lifetime, with shades of Bob James and George Duke thrown in for good measure. In my book that’s really no bad thing. Over time the term Jazz Fusion has become synonymous with radio-friendly smooth jazz, but in its early years this electrified sound felt groundbreaking, spawning classic albums like “Agharta”, “Head Hunters”, “Light as a Feather” and “Emergency”. That said this isn’t just music for nostalgia’s sake; it’s living and breathing with modern sensibilities.
This is a great little album packed with melodic, funk-filled, fluid grooves. The compositions, five of which were written by Kozol, are vividly captured, the “Session” really feeling fresh and live. Whilst the results are a group effort, the lasting takeaway is of Kozol’s playing, which provides a fantastically broad spectrum of sounds and textures, some layered or overlapping, others more linear, but all flowing quite effortlessly.
Highlighting individual tracks feels churlish within such a consistent set, but gun to my head I’d pick the slightly progressive vibe of “V6”, featuring guitarist Fareed Haque on solo and the tender, blissful “Park Avenue” featuring another guest, saxophonist Rajiv Hakim.
Elsewhere the cover of Joshua Redman’s “Jazz Crimes” is fairly faithful to the original, except the organ and sax lines are replaced by synths and a neat bass solo. Led Zeppelin’s “Four Sticks” is the other cover; an interesting choice, with rockier overtones and a heavier rhythm line.
Once you realise that there is a world of great music outside mainstream radio playlists, opportunities to ‘find’ albums like this are almost endless. Don’t let the self-deprecating name put you off, Spare Parts, are anything but.
Press for Spare Parts:
"...music like that of Spare Parts used to be part of the pop landscape and their new tunes are so user friendly, it’s time to reintroduce you to the whole jazz-fusion thing as done up right by this Chicago trio." -Richard Milne, host Local Anesthetic 93.1 WXRT Chicago
"I'm always looking for the new and unique and quite often I look to the Chicago scene where there's always something interesting to be found. From that fertile ground comes BRIGHT MINOR from one of my favorite Chicago groups these days, SPARE PARTS. These guys squeeze more out of keyboards, bass and drums than any trio you'll find anywhere!" Russ Davis- Modern Jazz Radio (MOJA)
"These three can lay down some serious funk, whether it be the kind meant to get you on the dance floor, or the kind that makes you tap your foot while your mouth is left gaping. Clearly, a band that can lay down the funk for seventy minutes with nary a dull spot in the mix is doing something right. Very right." - Paul Abella, Chicago Jazz Magazine
“One of the things that keep Spare Parts' music fresh is their constant evolution. They never rest on their laurels, content with where they are at. Rather, they push their own boundaries, along with those of the audience. This especially comes out in their live performances where the band manages to take what might otherwise be seen as a convoluted mess of genres and transform that into something that is not only coherent, but quite enjoyable. Spare Parts is entirely original and refreshing.” – Western Herald, Kalamazoo, Mi
Ten Chicago Jazz Artists To See in 2014
2) Spare Parts - A band that much like OM Trio, the Benevento/Russo Duo or Medeski Martin and Wood, is equal parts jazz and jam. They look like a jazz band, sound like a jazz band and go off like a jam band. One of my favorite groups in town. - Paul Abella
The Barn Presents: Ten Chicago Jazz Artists To See in 2014