In a career that spans more than a quarter century, nine GRAMMY® nominations, nine No. 1 albums on Billboard’s Current Contemporary Jazz Albums chart, numerous world tours, playing for multiple presidents and a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, saxophonist Dave Koz has maintained a commitment to celebrating the magic of the holiday season like few other artists of his genre or generation. Since 1997, Koz has assembled a stellar lineup and taken them on the road every December to ring in the most wonderful time of the year with audiences across the U.S.
The tradition continues in 2017 as Koz celebrates a milestone anniversary with a recording that features the tour’s earliest original lineup. Dave Koz and Friends 20th Anniversary Christmas, released on Concord Records in 2017, reunites Koz with pianist David Benoit, trumpeter/flugelhornist Rick Braun and acoustic guitarist Peter White. Also on hand are a cadre of highly talented vocalists – Selina Albright, Javier Colon, Kenny Lattimore, Gabriel Orengo and Jeffrey Osborne – and the Lisbon, Portugal-based West European Symphony Orchestra.
"The songs on Dave Koz and Friends 20th Anniversary Christmas are all very important to those of us who recorded them,” says Koz. "We’ve poured a lot of love and care into them, and we hope people feel those same emotions when they hear them.”
The lineup on Dave Koz and Friends 20th Anniversary Christmas is just the latest in a long list of artists with whom Koz has collaborated over the years: Burt Bacharach, Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Celine Dion, Stevie Wonder, Gloria Estefan, Luther Vandross, Shelby Lynne, Kenny Loggins, U2 and Michael McDonald, to name a few. A platinum-selling artist, Koz is also known as a humanitarian, entrepreneur, radio host and instrumental music advocate.
Born and raised in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley, Koz initially just saw the saxophone as a way to gain entry into his big brother’s band. What began as a ploy became a life-long obsession. After graduating from UCLA with a degree in mass-communications, 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 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 in 1987, Koz released his self-titled solo debut album in the fall of 1990. This was the first installment in a large 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 two GRAMMY® nominations in 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 previously unreleased 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 Luther Vandross), "Together Again,” "Honey-Dipped” and "All I See Is You” – plus four brand new songs. The 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 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 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, Boney James) to help them realize the vision for 2013’s Summer Horns (Concord Records), which paid tribute to the high-octane, richly arranged horn sections that fueled so many hits 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 (Michael Jackson, Steely Dan). 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 2014 holiday recording, The 25th of December (Concord Records), was his eighth album to top Billboard’s Current Contemporary Jazz Albums chart. Produced by Rickey Minor, it featured collaborations with India.Arie, Eric Benet, 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 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.
Koz is constantly touring, with annual summer jaunts ("Side By Side” with David Sanborn and Larry Graham) and holiday tours (Dave Koz and Friends Christmas) and the highly successful Dave Koz & Friends at Sea cruises – which included two back-to-back cruises to "Venice and Beyond” in 2017 and two upcoming back-to-back cruises in Scandinavia and The Baltic scheduled for May 2018. He’s also planning another Summer Horns tour in conjunction with a second Summer Horns recording, both of which are scheduled for 2018.
Koz recently recorded the new theme song for ESPN’s "The Jump” debuting in the Fall of 2017. Koz is also prominently featured on the track "La Dee Da” from the forthcoming Foo Fighters album Concrete and Gold.
Beyond the stage and studio, he continues to flex his mass communication muscles as a radio personality. As host of his syndicated Dave Koz Radio Show, he has been broadcasting coast-to-coast and internationally for nearly 25 years. 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 radio channel personally curated by Dave on JAZZRADIO.com, a multicultural internet radio service.
As an entrepreneur, Koz founded Rendezvous Entertainment. In 2015, always looking to flex his "hospitality muscles,” he partnered with Southern California restaurateurs Cary Hardwick and Laurie Sisneros to open Citizen Beverly Hills, a restaurant in the golden triangle that focuses on a shared plate menu and craft cocktails.
As a philanthropist, Koz has served as global ambassador for the Starlight Children’s Foundation for more than 20 years – an organization for which he has raised more than a half-million dollars. Dave donates all his proceeds from KOZ Wines, founded in 2009, to Starlight. The wines are available at Whole Foods Markets and online http://www.davekoz.com. 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).