In the 25 years since the release of his self-titled solo debut album, saxophonist Dave Koz has received nine GRAMMY® nominations, had nine No. 1 albums on Billboard’s Current Contemporary Jazz Albums chart, toured the world and been honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Reflecting on his extraordinary career, Dave decided to celebrate the milestone with a different kind of retrospective album.
“From the beginning, collaborations have been a special source of inspiration to me. I wanted to shine a light on that process and share these recordings, which feature some of my favorite artists,” said Dave Koz.
Collaborations: 25th Anniversary Collection, Koz’s latest album on Concord Records, features three brand new tracks – “Good Foot” with Jeff Lorber, “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher” with Kenny Lattimore and Rick Braun and “Let It Go” (from Frozen) with Sturken & Rogers – plus previously recorded collaborations with Barry Manilow (who recently tapped Dave as opener on his One Last Time! tour of the U.S.), Luther Vandross, Stevie Nicks, Stevie Wonder, Toby Keith, Herb Alpert, Rod Stewart, David Benoit and Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox, among others.
In the course of his career, Koz has also played with such artists as Burt Bacharach, Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Celine Dion, Shelby Lynne, Kenny Loggins, U2 and Michael McDonald. A platinum-selling artist, he 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 co-wrote 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 chart-topping 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 2013’s Summer Horns (also on Concord Records), which paid tribute to the high-octane, richly arranged horn sections that fueled hits across all genre boundaries in the ’60s and ’70s. 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.
His 2014 holiday recording, The 25th of December (Concord Records), was Dave’s eighth album to top Billboard’s Current Contemporary Jazz Albums chart. Produced by Rickey Minor, it featured collaborations with India.Arie, Eric Benét, Jonathan Butler, Gloria Estefan, Fantasia, Kenny G, Heather Headley, Richard Marx, Johnny Mathis, Trombone Shorty, BeBe Winans and Stevie Wonder. The first single – an all-star rendition of the Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love” – beautifully captured the spirit of the season and was a Top 5 hit on Billboard’s Smooth Jazz Songs chart. Collaborations: 25th Anniversary Collection debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Current Contemporary Jazz Albums chart in August of 2015 while the lead single, “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher” with Kenny Lattimore and Rick Braun, entered the Top 5 at Smooth A/C and Jazz Radio.
Dave is constantly touring, with annual summer and holiday tours, and the highly successful Dave Koz & Friends At Sea. His next three voyages are sold out, bringing his tally of sold out cruises to seven. In February 2016, Koz will be exploring “The Ultimate Caribbean” with fans and fellow artists and in 2017, he’ll host two back-to-back voyages to “Venice and Beyond.” Dave also continues to flex his mass-communications muscles as a radio personality. He hosts the syndicated Dave Koz Radio Show – now in its 21st 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 JAZZRADIO.com, a multichannel internet radio service.
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.
As a philanthropist, Koz has served as global ambassador for the Starlight Children’s Foundation for over 20 years. 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®, Amazon and California Pizza Kitchen. Two 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).