Artist of the Month

Danny Kusz

Real music Radio is honored to have Danny Kusz as our May Artist of the Month!



Melody Warren – CEO, The Jazz In M.E.E.


Danny, a Minneapolis based saxophonist has carefully crafted and mastered a combination of Prince, The Minneapolis sound and David Sanborn into a truly unique sound that is instantly recognizable. Being named the hippest jazz cat by Minneapolis/St.Paul Magazine back in 2007 was no mistake! His energetic performance, unique style and one of a kind Pink inspired brand truly earn him that title.

His truly remarkable career has has earned him 2 Los Angeles music awards, multiple Minnesota Music Award nominations, a cover story on The Jazz In M.E.E. January 2016 issue, 3 solo albums and multiple top 10 charting songs.

Steppin Out Front

In 2014 The Man In Pink decided it was time to step out in front from being a side man for years and launch his second solo CD named, SEXY.FUNK VELVET.JAZZ. In 2016, he released Eruption which earned him 3 radio singles and a Top 10 hit song entitled Reanimation.

This album featured jazz legends such as Jeff Lorber, Will Donato and Nils. In 2016 Danny signed with Innervision Records. A California based record label released his first single called, ” Can’t stop the groove “. A top 10 GrooveJazz chart single which was also picked up by Sirius XM and MusicChoice radio.



Sharing the Stage

Danny has shared the stage and recorded with such greats as Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Stokley, Jellybean Johnson, Joey DeFrancesco, Althea Renee, Adam Hawley, Eric Leeds, Will Donato, N’Dambi, Anthony David, Phil Denny, DW3, Selina Albright, Nils, Lindsey Webster and Bobbly Lyle. He has also opened for Morris Day & The Time, Stanley Jordan, Harvey Mason and has headlined multiple festivals and clubs such as The Dakota Jazz Club, The Soiled Dove, Bethesda Jazz Club, Gallery Suite Jazz Series, Catalina Jazz Club, Spaghettini’s, The Jazz Legacy Foundation, The Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Burnsville Jazz Festival, Selby Jazz Festival, Jazz 88.5 Winter Jazz Festival and The Little Apple Jazz Festival.

PINK – “I even hesitate to call this jazz. The album is so funky, you can play the record for virtually any crowd.”

Songs feat. The Hornheads, Jellybean Johnson, David Feily, The MPLS Horns and Valeriy Stepanov.

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Billboard in LA, Chicago and Salt Lake City




Ten Questions with Real Music Radio’s DJ Jedi

1. Tell me a little about your latest release “Pink” and how it came together and who else is on the album with you?

This latest release for me is probably the best representation of who I want to be and sound like as an artist. Not that my last two albums weren’t, but I really feel like this one captures perfectly the vision that I have in my head. I also believe it’s my best work to date. When I was first meeting with my Producer (Matt Godina), I basically sent him a collection of material from other artists and said I wanted to combine all of this into a record. It was predominately made up of Prince and David Sanborn tunes, with a few anomalies sprinkled in. After he fully understood the concept, he started putting together little snippets of material and would send them my way. Once we decided to move forward on a track, he would finish the arrangements. Once the arrangements were done, I would write my melodies and we would collaborate on what worked and what didn’t. That’s the great part of the digital age, is we literally could make a record together from opposite ends of the U.S. Once we started to finalize the songs, I started thinking about who I wanted to feature on the album. I really wanted to focus on local Minneapolis musicians and reached out to Paul Peterson, Jellybean Johnson and The Hornheads, all legends that worked with Prince for over 25+ years and were involved in shaping the Minneapolis sound. To me this was vital to executing the vision. Beyond that, I become really good friends with Marcus Randolph, drummer for Robert Randolph, and knew that I wanted to feature him on drums. I felt that his level of intensity he brings to the drums was what some of these songs needed. So he recorded on a few songs from New Jersey where he lives. One of the tracks needed a killer fusion synth part, so I reached out to Valeriy Stepanov from Russia. I became hip to him through YouTube a few years ago and have wanted to work with him since. He was extremely excited about the song and totally killed the part. Finally, I was also able to work with David Feily, Aaron Wiener and Russ King, who are really close friends of mine and also phenominal local Minneapolis musicians. I love working with my friends on music because there is a connection that we have beyond just music, it makes the outcome even better and it’s a ton of fun collaborating with people that you have a personal connection with.

2. What is the vibe and feeling on “Pink”, What songs do you really dig and what songs do you hope the listeners will dig?

First and foremost, I really want people to feel like they are listening to a true, homegrown Minneapolis artist. I wanted this album to be a tribute to the sounds of this great city. So you will definitely get that retro, 1980’s Prince vibe throughout the entire album. You will also clearly hear the heavy influence that Sanborn had on me as a player. Not only through my tone but through my phrasing. I think these two things combined together is what really makes me stand out as a unique artist in today’s oversaturated market. It’s something that has become instantly recognizable for people. That’s what makes every great artist, a unique voice that stands out from all of the other noise. So I’m trying to use the same and hopefully one day I will be considered a great artist. The other unique thing about this album are the different genres it pulls from. There are definitely some more contemporary jazz type songs, but there are also some funk/rock songs that may appeal to a different demographic. I want people of all ages and musical tastes to listen and vibe on this record. Why limit my reach by just saying I’m going to make a smooth jazz record. To me, that’s not a great business model.

As for which songs I really dig, of course I am going to say all of them! HA! But in reality, the songs that are a little more heavy on the funk side stand out for me as my favorites. Not that I don’t dig the smoother tunes, but I personally like music that has more power and intensity. I guess if I had to choose, G504 might be my favorite. To me it is that perfect intersection of Prince and David Sanborn. And I really fell in love with the solo that I laid on that song. I’m extremely hyper critical on myself most of the time, but to me that solo came out perfect. I feel like it’s one of those iconic solos like on David Sanborn’s Chicago Song that people will remember.

3. How did growing up in the “Twin Cities” shape you as artist?

Growing up here was great because there were so many artists to be influenced and inspired by. Not just Prince, but all of the great local artists. It’s pretty incredible how many talented artists actually live here. It’s also not so big of a city that we aren’t connected. We are like one big family where everyone knows each other and we feed off each others creativity. Plus, the really cool thing is that we all come from the same major influence of Prince – it’s like he is in all of us.  You can’t play music here and not somehow be influenced by him. Growing up here you learn to put that extra stank on everything. It’s like this unwritten rule that if you are from Minneapolis, you have to be funky as hell! And it’s pretty much true! There aren’t a lot of cities that have that and I think growing up here has made me the player that I am today. I’m not sure if I would have become the artist I am if I had grown up elsewhere.

4. I love jazz and there is nothing cooler than live jazz but I’m no expert on it, where do you point newbies to understand and appreciate jazz more?

I think a great start would be YouTube. There are so many amazing concerts and videos to check out which can start to build your appreciation for jazz. I think going to see live jazz in your area can also help build your appreciation as live music tends open your mind and turn you onto something you never thought that you would have liked. Although I don’t really approve of streaming services, they could be a great way to search and find new music without having to commit to purchasing an album. Lastly, I don’t think you necessarily need to understand jazz to appreciate it. I feel that’s the case with all music. There’s beauty in the fact that we can all hear something and instantly decide if we like it or not, regardless if we fully understand it.

5. You’re about to start a tour to support “Pink” what can people expect at your shows

I tend to bring a level of intensity and passion to my shows that people seem to love. It’s like they know that I am literally giving every ounce of energy that I have and am truly playing from my heart and soul on every song. The other thing I love about my live shows is the spontaneity. Everyone knows the songs, but it seems like each show is completely different. I tend to jam a lot, so there are a lot of solos, and while most of the songs are scripted, I may change something up during the song that wasn’t planned for, and that is where great things can happen that are totally unexpected. I also love the theatrics of a live performance. The clothing, the banter between musicians, the dead space in between songs where you get to connect with the audience.

6. What was the last movie you saw in the theater and did you like it?

I saw the latest Star Wars movie. I was very entertained!

7. What artists are currently in your heavy rotation?

Bernhoft, Lawrence, Jon Cleary, Marc Broussard, James Morrison, Prince

8. Describe yourself in three musicians (besides yourself)

David Sanborn, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Maceo Parker

9. Are you into watching sports? Who are your favorite teams?

I’m a HUGE sports fans! My favorite teams are The Minnesota Vikings, The Minnesota Wild and The Minnesota Twins.

10. Favorite Cartoon Character and why?

Honestly, I really loved Looney Tunes growing up. Now, when I think about it, I get this wave of nostalgia that comes over me. It’s like instant happiness. Life was so much simpler back then, it kind of makes you want to go back in time!

We want to thank Danny Kusz for Participating as our Artist of the Month

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