V is for Vivacious
Aubrey Logan Puts the Sass in the Koz Brass

By Lee Valentine Smith

The current edition of the popular Dave Koz and Friends tour is crisscrossing the country as The Summer Horns. The seasoned line-up - including his longtime collaborators Rick Braun, Gerald Albright and Kenny Lattimore - are joined for the second year by relative newcomer Aubrey Logan on trombone and vocals.

The youngest member of the ensemble, Logan shares her bandmates' enduring appreciation of the great horn bands of the past. Whether she's on tour with Koz, singing in a viral Post Modern Jukebox clip on You Tube or fronting her own jazz combo, Logan puts a decidedly vintage yet modern spin to her song selections - often spanning from the '20s to jazzy takes on current trends.

INsite caught up with the sassy entertainer by phone before a recent Summer Horns show.

Tell us a little about the theme of this year's tour.
We're playing songs from the greatest horn bands of all time. Everybody from Earth, Wind and Fire to James Brown to Stevie Wonder. All those great horn licks we grew up loving. It's just a lot of good summer fun - feel-good party music for people of all ages.

This is your second tour with the Summer Horns.
Yeah, we did it last summer and then Dave said, 'Let's do it again!' So here we are. I jumped at the chance. This time we have Kenny Lattimore along with us so the show has a little different flavor and the music is a little different. But we're having a great time and these guys are consummate gentlemen.

You're on the recent Summer Horns A to Z album. Was it recorded before last year's tour?
Yeah, it was and it actually went to number one. This year we didn't do a new album but I made another solo record [Where The Sunshine Is Expensive] and it went to number one, too! I can't thank Dave enough for introducing me to his audience and letting me be a part of two tours and an album. He's such a great supporter. He has great taste in music, so I trust his vision for the show.

Dave loves the collaborative vibe of playing with an ensemble.
He does. And that really goes back to all our roots. A lot of us got our start in high school bands so it's nice from a nostalgic sense to play with so many horns at once. In my ensemble I'm the only one out front but for this, there are five of us leading the show. It's a good way to collaborate and play off each other. Plus, we all truly love the music we're playing. It all just falls into place when we play together because there's no generational categories for us or the show or the audience.

You weren't around when most of those songs were first popular, but the rest of the guys were a big part of that scene.
Yeah, they grew up with it. I wasn't there for it when it was new but I was heavily influenced by it. Great songs never go away, so they're just timeless to me. I really have my parents to thank for it. They'd play all kinds of music, all the time. It was everything from Beethoven to Whitney Houston to Dolly Parton. I grew up loving Chicago and James Brown and since I was a singer first, I just loved it all.

How did you decide on the trombone as your instrument of choice?
My friends were all in band in high school. I'd done musical theater and I could read music but I didn't play any sort of wind instrument. My mother was choir director at my school so there was no way I was going to be in choir. But she asked the band director if I could join. He said, 'Sure, what does she play?' She said, 'Well nothing - but she can read and she'll learn really fast.' My dad was a trumpet player and he also a principal at another school. So he brought home some instruments for me to try out. Saxophone, flute and French horn were ok but when I picked up the trombone, not only could I make a sound on it, it reminded me of Chicago and the Buddy Rich band. So it stuck!

It is an unusual choice.
I guess so, but I never thought of it that way. It wasn't until I moved to L.A. that people thought I was a little weird. It wasn't the quintessential 'womanly' thing to play, I suppose. But I never had any sort of negativity about it.

There's a definite retro feel to much of your material.
Yeah, that comes from not only playing with Dave, but also the Post Modern Jukebox. Where Dave takes things back to the '70s, the Jukebox goes all the way back to the '20s.

Have you joined Dave for a Christmas tour yet?
I haven't but I'm doing my own Christmas tour this year as I plan what I was to put on my own Christmas album. I'm actually planning the tour right now as we speak. So the rest of the year should be pretty busy for all of us.

Dave Koz and Friends - Summer Horns play at 7 p.m. on Saturday, September 7 at the Mable House Amphitheater. Koz returns to town on December 6 for a performance at Cobb Energy Center. Look for a conversation with Dave Koz in the December INsite.

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