Smooth Sailing For Dave Koz

Contemporary jazz artist discusses music education, philanthropy, music, and collaboration
  • Photo: Mark Sullivan/
    Dave Koz
September 20, 2011 -- 1:36 pm PDT

(A portion of the proceeds from The Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter's GRAMMY Block Party benefitted PATH, a Los Angeles-based organization dedicated to ending homelessness for individuals, families and communities.)

GRAMMY-nominated contemporary jazz saxophonist Dave Koz recently participated in an installment of The Recording Academy's 5 Questions With … series. Held during The Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter's GRAMMY Block Party at The Academy's headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif., Koz discussed music education, the importance of Academy members' involvement with their local Chapters, his work with the Starlight Children's Foundation, and working with an all-star cast on his most recent album, Hello Tomorrow, among other topics.

"I'm a born collaborator, I like to collaborate," said Koz. "In going into the studio with my producers, we thought of these people to come and help us realize this vision [for] Hello Tomorrow."

A Southern California native, Koz played saxophone in the jazz band at William Howard Taft High School in Woodland Hills. Among his initial career breaks, Koz played as a member of Richard Marx's touring band in the late '80s. He subsequently signed a solo deal with Capitol Records and released his self-titled debut album in 1990. The album featured a cover of Marx's hit "Endless Summer Nights" and charted on the Billboard 200. Koz's second album, Lucky Man, was released in 1993 and further established him as a force in both pop and contemporary jazz. Lucky Man featured "You Make Me Smile," a composition written by Koz with his brother and fellow musician Jeff Koz, which reached No. 20 on the Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart. Koz's fourth studio album, 1999's The Dance, reached No. 3 on Billboard's Jazz Albums chart and yielded another Top 20 adult contemporary hit, "Castle Of Dreams." Two years later, Koz received the first of his six GRAMMY nominations for Best Pop Instrumental Album for his holiday album, A Smooth Jazz Christmas. Koz would go on to receive a nomination in the same category for Saxophonic in 2004 and At The Movies in 2007. In 2002 Koz teamed with his brother for Golden Slumbers: A Father's Lullaby, a children's music project that served as the first release on his label, Rendezvous Entertainment. The Koz brothers' rendition of the Beatles' "Blackbird" earned a GRAMMY nod for Best Pop Instrumental Performance in 2003. Featured on At The Movies, an album consisting of covers of classic movie songs, Koz's reading of "Over The Rainbow" from The Wizard Of Oz received a GRAMMY nomination for Best Pop Instrumental Performance.

Released in 2010, Hello Tomorrow saw Koz team with an all-star cast of guest musicians, including Jonathan Butler and Lee Ritenour (guitar), Sheila E. (percussion), Jeff Lorber (keyboards), and Herb Alpert (trumpet). The album reached No. 1 on the Jazz Albums chart and spawned two No. 1 Jazz Songs hits, "Put The Top Down" and "Anything's Possible." In addition to his recording career, Koz is the host of "The Dave Koz Radio Show," a syndicated weekend program.

Click on the "5 Questions With ... interviews" tag below for links to other GRAMMY News stories in this series.

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