Gerald Albright, Dave Koz, Mindi Abair, and Richard Elliot perform at the Hollywood Bowl on Aug. 18
Photo: The Recording Academy
Dave Koz And Friends At The Hollywood Bowl
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By Lisa Goich-Andreadis
In 1974 eight-time GRAMMY-nominated jazz saxist Dave Koz bought his first album — Tower Of Power's Back To Oakland. Koz was hooked, and so began his love of horns and the seed for what would become his 2013 album Summer Horns and accompanying tour: Dave Koz And Friends' Summer Horns.
Joining Koz in this super sax quartet for a hometown performance on Aug. 18 at the Hollywood Bowl was Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter President Mindi Abair, GRAMMY-nominated sax powerhouse Gerald Albright and former Tower Of Power saxist Richard Elliot. Each musician brought something wonderfully different to the mix, making for a tight-knit and funky show. Rounding out the band were members of each of the foursome's individual bands. The selections for the tour and album were handpicked by Koz and friends for their historically memorable horn grooves. And they were groovy.
Leading off the headlining set was Ronnie Laws' "Always There," arranged by GRAMMY-nominated trumpeter/flugelhorn player and longtime Tower Of Power member Greg Adams. The song featured Koz, Albright, Abair, and Elliot equally trading riffs and laying down smooth, soulful grooves. The recognizable intro of the Beatles' 1966 hit "Got To Get You Into My Life" followed and was accented by the fine guitar work of Detroit's Randy Jacobs of the Boneshakers fame.
Koz took over the reins with his sweet soprano sax to perform a beautifully arranged version of "Rise," a tribute to GRAMMY winner Herb Alpert that also featured Abair. Albright led a screaming version of James Brown's GRAMMY Hall Of Fame-inducted "I Got You (I Feel Good)" on alto sax. The song ended with Koz draping a gold cape over Albright in a perfect nod to the Godfather of Soul.
With the 80-degree weather day winding down, Sly & The Family Stone's "Hot Fun In The Summertime" hit the spot. Horns filled the chorus, replacing vocals by Jeffrey Osborne and Jonathan Butler, who sing the track on Summer Horns, and the crowd was led in a men versus women sing-off.
Koz soloed on "Together Again," a song from his 1999 album The Dance, and performed lead soprano sax on Paul Desmond's "Take Five," intricately arranged by GRAMMY winner Gordon Goodwin using only horns and a bassist and dedicated to the late George Duke.
Originally featuring possibly one of the greatest horn sections in rock history, Chicago's 1970 hit "25 Or 6 To 4" was a crowd favorite and featured Abair on lead. "Baby makin' music" is how Koz referred to Earth, Wind & Fire's "Reasons," led by Elliot on tenor. A highlight of this performance was the beatbox effect the four sax players created by blowing air into their instruments. It was a nice touch and elicited a big round of applause.
Joining the four-member front line on Stevie Wonder's "You Haven't Done Nothin'" was trumpeter/multi-instrumentalist Rick Braun. Opening act and Koz collaborator Butler added his pristine vocals to the mix.
The evening wrapped with each of the four stars playing their own solos: Abair on "Lucy's," Albright on "Champagne Life," Elliot on "When A Man Loves A Woman," and Koz on "You Make Me Smile."
Koz and friends came back for an encore medley that ended the show on a high note. It was the perfect soundtrack for a summer night at the Hollywood Bowl.
The evening was kicked off by GRAMMY-winning jazz group Yellowjackets. Additional opening acts included Butler (that man can sing!) and Morris Day And The Time (not a soul was in their seats during his performance).
Dave Koz And Friends Set List:
"Always There" (Ronnie Laws cover)
"Got To Get You Into My Life" (Beatles cover)
"Rise" (Herb Alpert cover)
"I Got You (I Feel Good)" (James Brown cover)
"Hot Fun In The Summertime" (Sly & The Family Stone cover)
"Take Five" (Paul Desmond cover)
"25 Or 6 To 4" (Chicago cover)
"Reasons" (Earth, Wind & Fire cover)
"You Haven’t Done Nothin'" (Stevie Wonder cover)
"Lucy's" (Mindi Abair)
"Champagne Life" (Gerald Albright)
"When A Man Loves A Woman" (Richard Elliot)
"You Make Me Smile" (Dave Koz)
To catch Dave Koz And Friends in a city near you, click here for tour dates.
(Lisa Goich-Andreadis, a Detroit native living in Los Angeles, manages the Jazz & Comedy Fields for The Recording Academy. She's currently working on a memoir titled 14 Days and can be heard as a special guest on "The Mitch Albom Show" on WJR-AM in Detroit. For more information on Lisa and her projects, visit her website at www.lisagoich.com.)