Biography

Black Olive Jazz features the warm singer Kay Kostopoulos and the veteran Noel Jewkes on tenor, alto, soprano and flute. The group performs a wide range of jazz: swing, standards, blues, latin and originals. Black Olive Jazz brings a Mediterranean feel to jazz, featuring sultry vocals, exotic finger cymbals and serpentine phrases on soprano saxophone. 

Kay and Noel have been featured venues and jazz festivals all around the San Francisco Bay Area, including the Sonoma, Napa, Healdsburg, Vallejo, Sacramento, Palo Alto, and Fillmore Jazz Festivals. Their album, "Exotica", a Mediterranean Jazz Journey, received rave reviews, and was honored by the Stanford Humanities celebration. 

Kay is also a Stanford lecturer in Business and Theater, professional actress, singer, dancer and director who has performed in plays and musicals in many regional and Bay Area theaters, including the Magic Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, San Francisco and California Shakespeare Festivals, Stanford Summer Theater and A.C.T. (American Conservatory Theatre). Her theatrical background lends an emotional sensitivity to her lush and sensuous three-octave vocal range. Kay's bellydancing has roots in an ethnic history rich in tradition, percussive musicality and precise technique.

Show Review

Andrew Poretz of online Theater Pizzazz introduces Kay and Friends to New York City with reviews and beautiful images of the show at Pangea

 “Reed maestro Noel Jewkes is from the Bay Area, providing brilliant tenor sax, soprano sax and clarinet accompaniment.  The lovely Ms. Kostopolous, whose ageless Mediterranean beauty perfectly complements a show incorporating Greek goddesses, set the mood with an excellent rendition of Dizzy Gillespie’s “A Night in Tunisia.”  The star makes extensive use of sensuality in her performance, often with the aid of Turkish finger cymbals, called zills. Kay Kostopolous is a fine performer who will leave you enchanted and informed.  New York is lucky to have her.”... Andrew Poretz, Theater Pizzazz , NY, NY.

Critical Acclaim for Kay Kostopoulos & Black Olive Jazz: 

"Near the end of the set at Birdland, Kay Kostopoulos dressed as a member of a harem and sporting two pairs of finger cymbals soloed on "Boulevard Of Broken Dreams" was as close to finger cymbal virtuosity as I've ever heard (and if she wasn't also from the Bay Area, I'd claim this as an "only in New York" moment!)" - Concert Reviews, Frontpage by Thomas Cunliffe 

"Beautiful voice with a wide range... Ms. Kostopoulos is equally skilled on ballads and uptempo material...Makes a strong case for being considered a major jazz singer." Scott Yanow, Jazz Critic 

"Her love of the text, subtlety of word, and appreciation for the audience promise a performance as deep as those big, dark eyes starring right back at you." - Palo Alto Weekly 

 

Stories

 

Kay explores the ephemeral and termporal nature of love and life in the lyrics of her original composition, with illustrations from her precious book collection, "Romance Fiction and the Drama." Her words inspired composer, Stephanie Bruce to write the music, and musician/sound engineer Roscoe Gallo to create the soundscape. The final mixed version with new vocals will stream in late fall.

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