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Nine-time GRAMMY® nominee Dave Koz remembers the first record he ever purchased – Tower of Power’s 1974 album, Back To Oakland. It had a powerful impact on him, as his 2013 release, Summer Horns, shows. Teaming up with three of his most talented and trusted colleagues – Gerald Albright, Richard Elliot and Mindi Abair – Koz revisited the music that made him want to pick up the saxophone in the first place: classic tracks from Tower of Power and other brassy juggernauts that ruled the airwaves from the late 1960s through the ‘70s – bands like Sly & the Family Stone, Earth Wind & Fire, Chicago and Blood Sweat & Tears.
Over the decades, the saxophone has opened numerous doors for Koz. He’s played with such artists as Burt Bacharach, Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Celine Dion, Shelby Lynne, Kenny Loggins, U2, Barry Manilow, Michael McDonald, Luther Vandross and Rod Stewart. He’s become a platinum-selling artist with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and is also known as a humanitarian, entrepreneur, radio host and instrumental music advocate.
Born and raised in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley, Dave initially just saw the saxophone as a way to help him gain entry into his big brother’s band. What began as a ploy became a lifelong obsession. After graduating from UCLA, Koz decided to become a professional musician. Within weeks of that decision, he was recruited as a touring member of Bobby Caldwell’s band. It was during this time that Koz befriended keyboardist Jeff Lorber, who invited Koz to come play on one of his tours. That stint was followed by a fourteen-month tour with pop singer Richard Marx.
Signed to Capitol Records by Bruce Lundvall, Koz released his self-titled solo debut album in 1990. This was the first in a body of best-selling work, which includes the gold-certified Lucky Man (1993), Off The Beaten Path (1996), and the holiday-themed albums December Makes Me Feel This Way (1997) and Dave Koz & Friends - A Smooth Jazz Christmas (2001). His gold-certified fifth album, The Dance (1999), spawned no less than five Top 5 contemporary jazz hits. Saxophonic (2003) produced another four Top 5 singles and garnered Koz two GRAMMY® nominations spanning two consecutive years.
In 2007, Koz released two chart-topping collections of standards. At The Movies, his lush, romantic celebration of timeless melodies from cinema, spent 12 weeks atop Billboard’s Top Contemporary Jazz chart. Produced by the legendary Phil Ramone, it was nominated for a GRAMMY® in the “Best Pop Instrumental Album” category. Memories Of A Winter’s Night, a festive collection of holiday standards, hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Contemporary Jazz chart in December 2007. Dave Koz At The Movies Double Feature CD + DVD followed in early 2008, which featured the At The Movies CD with two never-before-released bonus audio tracks, a new DVD and a track-by-track commentary.
Capitol Records released Dave Koz – Greatest Hits, his first-ever retrospective album, in the fall of 2008 and it debuted at No. 1 on both Billboard’s Top Contemporary Jazz Albums chart and iTunes’ Jazz Album chart. The collection included many of Koz’s smash singles – including “Castle of Dreams,” “Can’t Let You Go” featuring the late Luther Vandross, “Together Again,” “Honey-Dipped” and “All I See Is You” – plus four new brand new songs. Lead single “Life In The Fast Lane,” which Koz cowrote with writer/producer Darren Rahn, spent seven weeks at No. 1 on the R&R Monitored Smooth Jazz chart. It was followed by the Top 5 single “Bada Bing.”
Hello Tomorrow – Dave’s first album for Concord Records – debuted at No. 1 on both Billboard’s Top Contemporary Jazz Albums chart and iTunes’ Jazz Album chart and was named the “Best Smooth Jazz Album of 2010” by iTunes. The CD was nominated for a GRAMMY® award for Best Pop Instrumental Album. Hailed as “an event record” by The New York Times, its lead single, “Put The Top Down,” spent 18 weeks at No. 1 on the Mediabase Smooth A/C chart – the longest stint at No. 1 of any of Koz’s charttopping hits. Ultimate Christmas, featuring 18 perennial holiday classics performed by Koz, bowed in 2011 on Capitol/EMI. Live at the Blue Note Tokyo, Koz’s first-ever live CD, was released by Concord Records in 2012 and received a GRAMMY® nomination for Best Pop Instrumental Album.
Koz and his friends Gerald Albright, Richard Elliot and Mindi Abair turned to producer Paul Brown (Al Jarreau, George Benson, June Tabor, Boney James) to help them realize the vision for Summer Horns (Concord Records). The album also features trumpeter/flugelhornist Rick Braun, trombonist Brian Culbertson, vocalists Michael McDonald, Jeffrey Osborne and Jonathan Butler – plus arrangements by Greg Adams (Tower of Power) and Tom Scott. Topping it off is a sax-only rendition of "Take Five" with Gordon Goodwin offering his arrangement to the quartet and a new original composition, “Summer Horns.” The album was honored with a GRAMMY® nomination for Best Pop Instrumental Album and an NAACP Image Awards nomination for Outstanding Jazz Album.
Koz’s new holiday recording, The 25th of December, is scheduled for release on September 30, 2014 on Concord Records. The album features duets with some of the most prominent pop and jazz artists of the last several decades, including Johnny Mathis, Eric Benét, Gloria Estefan, Heather Headley, Richard Marx, Kenny G, BeBe Winans, India.Arie, Trombone Shorty, Jonathan Butler, Fantasia and Stevie Wonder.
Dave is constantly touring, with annual summer and holiday tours, and the highly successful Dave Koz & Friends At Sea. Koz, who has hosted four sold-out cruises thus far, will be exploring “The Ultimate Caribbean” with fans and fellow artists on his February 2016 cruise. Dave also continues to flex his mass-communications muscles as a radio personality. He hosts the syndicated Dave Koz Radio Show – now in its 20th year and airing in approximately 50 markets. In the spring of 2014, he launched “The Dave Koz Lounge,” which airs Sundays on SiriusXM (Satellite radio), and “Dave Koz & Friends Radio,” a 24-hour-a-day radio channel personally curated by Dave on SKY.FM Radio & JAZZRADIO.com multichannel internet radio services.
As an entrepreneur, Koz founded Rendezvous Entertainment. He recently joined forces with Cary Hardwick and Laurie Sisneros, partners and owners of Spaghettini in Seal Beach, to open a new restaurant/live music venue in the heart of Beverly Hills’ new restaurant row. Spaghettini and The Dave Koz Lounge is set to open in the late fall of 2014.
As a philanthropist, Koz has served for 19 years as global ambassador for the Starlight Children’s Foundation. With KOZ Wines, founded in 2009, he found another way to help Starlight continue its vital mission. Dave is donating all his proceeds from KOZ Wines to Starlight. The wines are available at Whole Foods Markets® and other retailers and during select periods at California Pizza Kitchen. Two new wines from Koz’s partnership with premium Santa Barbara winemaker Terravant picked up Gold and Best of Class awards in the 2014 Los Angeles International Wine Competition.
Koz completed a four-year term on the GRAMMY® Foundation Artists Committee and has served as National Trustee for the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS).