- He’s bringing sax-y back - In a career spanning a quarter century, out saxophonist Dave Koz has enjoyed many opportunities to combine forces with celebrated recording artists - a who’s who cross section of musical genres, including legends Stevie Wonder, Barry Manilow, Stevie Nicks and Rod Stewart, to name a few. And despite his own successes, each one left an impression on him. "I learned a lot from these people," Koz says. "It is the art of collaboration. If you go in with open eyes, open arms and open hearts, you can learn so much about yourself and about other people." To celebrate his history of artistic partnerships, Koz recently issued a new album entitled Collaborations: 25th Anniversary Collection. The 15-track disc, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Jazz chart, includes three newly-recorded tracks alongside some curated selections, each connected by a common thread of creative alliance. "It’s been the one thing that’s been the essence of my life, on and off the stage," say Koz, 52, of synergistic teaming. "We decided to look at some of those collaborations that never got to see the light of day - some from my albums and some from other artists’ albums - and to put together the best of the best." As Koz reviewed his portfolio, the roster of renowned musicians he has worked with gave him pause. He simultaneously felt satisfaction and humility. "It’s one thing to know them, it’s another thing to make music with them," Koz says. "It was a bit of a shot in the arm for me after 25 years to take a moment to reflect on some of those musical relationships. [For example,] I made music with Stevie Wonder, who is one of the greatest artists in almost any genre. He sang a song on my album. It’s kind of mind-blowing." Koz looks forward to sharing that experience with North Texas audiences, as he returns to Dallas with his summer tour. "A nice thing about our show in Dallas is that it’s during the day," Koz says. "It’s on a Sunday. You come in the early afternoon, they offer lunch and then you can enjoy an afternoon show. It’s kind of a perfect timing. We did it last year as an experiment and it really worked." The CD release and tour are only two components of what has become an exceptional year for the in-demand musician. Earlier, Barry Manilow - who appears on Collaborations - asked Koz to opening for him on his One Last Time! tour. Koz, who admits to being a Fanilow, did not pass on the opportunity. The job even offered a few perks. "[Barry] was kind enough to ask me to join him on his private plane, which, by the way, ruined me forever," Koz jokes. "The day after the tour was over, I was back on Southwest. I took a picture, and I said, 'Barry who are all these people on my private plane?'" While most of the tour stops with Manilow went smoothly, Koz recalls an awkward wardrobe malfunction of the Lenny Kravitz variety. "One day I split my pants about three-quarters of the way," Koz says. "And I’m talking ripped my pants in the crotch. I still had 10 minutes more onstage. Thankfully I was wearing underwear. I just thought, 'What am I gonna do?' The cameras are on me, and I’m on the big screen. I just kept my legs together for 10 minutes straight and I hobbled off stage. Talk about embarrassing!" (Dallas Voice, 8/28/2015)
- Dave Koz breathes new life into favorites with 25th anniversary disc: Famed jazz man to play two shows at Thornton Winery on Saturday, July 11, and Sunday, July 12 - Whenever jazz saxophonist Dave Koz teams up with other musicians, the result is something unbelievably special. Koz, who will perform Saturday and Sunday at Thornton Winery in Temecula with trumpeter Rick Braun and R&B singer Kenny Lattimore, has released an album’s worth of musical teamwork with new disc "Collaborations: 25th Anniversary Collection." "This is not a greatest hits project," Koz said during a recent telephone interview. "There is a breadth of wonderful collaborators, and the more different they are from my core genre, the more it will open listeners to great music." Among them are such icons as Stevie Wonder, Rod Stewart, Stevie Nicks, Toby Keith, David Benoit, Barry Manilow, Braun and Lattimore.
One notable song is all Koz: "Let It Go," from the enormously successful "Frozen" movie and soundtrack. "I had to do it," he said, laughing. "My nieces are the ones that opened my eyes to it. I wasn’t around it like someone with kids is, but I did try to get inside it and start to play it and I got it and I understood it." He loves the meaning. "On a global level, it is a great message," he said. "It’s a great melody and it’s a beautiful song and I love what it represents. It pushed the idea of who you are and are you showing up in your fullest capacity. For me personally that is a big concept and motivation." And the fans love it. He has been playing it on tour with Barry Manilow this year and "it has gone over like gangbusters for the Manilow crowd."
Koz is also a Beatles fan, and "All You Need Is Love" is on the record. "That song, I mean, who doesn’t know it?" he said. "The idea for the song came from Jeff Lorber, who did an album for Jonathan Butler, but didn’t use the song on the CD. I was on the road with Jonathan and he told me about it." The song is a departure from the classic Beatles version. "I listened and I love this song and the way they did it," he said. "We slowed it down and made it a lot more midtempo. Then came the idea to do it in a ‘We Are the World’ style. The payoff was Stevie Wonder, who is one of the people who are the embodiment of love on the planet. The song is about love and this is really a basic, very heartfelt rendition."
Moving out of the genre, modern country star Keith also joined the project with "Cryin’ for Me (Wayman’s Song)." "Keith is a country megastar, and I found myself wondering, what am I doing in the studio with him, but that’s the beautiful thing about music," he said. "It can tear down any wall. It was inspired by my buddy Wayman Tisdale and Toby’s friendship with him."
His collaboration with Manilow on "Apartment 2G: I Hear Her Playing Music," took a nostalgic turn. "The first time I ever met Barry in the studio, it was when he was recording ‘Here at the Mayflower,’" Koz said. "He had written a song about a woman who was a loner and listened to music late at night, and he wrote the lyric saying at the end that she’s listening to Dave Koz in the middle of the night. This is the first time I am meeting a superstar and I hear him sing my name! I was in the lyric! That was our first connection and he’s been a huge part of my life so that’s why I chose the song."
And Stewart’s appearance on "(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons" was a thrill as well. "When Rod was doing his American Songbooks, he had asked me through Phil Ramone to play on the first album," he said. "I played a few tracks with him. That dude is a rock star and we were playing jazz. I must have played 12 songs with him over those four albums and it was nice to have the kinship with him and when we asked him, he said, 'Sure.' I don’t play much on the song but it is a nice combination and it makes me stop in my tracks and think 'Wow, I’m playing with Rod Stewart!'"
And Braun and Lattimore joined him for "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher." "We did 'Higher and Higher' and Kenny killed it," he said. "It’s a perfect song and we had good horn lines for me and Rick and a great melody for Kenny to sing." While he’s had a blast with Manilow, he’s looking forward to hitting the road with his jazz group. "The Thornton shows will be first shows of summer," he said. "It is all about fun, really. I’ve shared the stage with Rick for years and I love his music. We’ve added Kenny and I was blown away by him on our jazz cruise last year." Where: Thornton Winery, 32575 Rancho California Road, Temecula. Admission: Saturday's show is $95 general admission and $170 for a reserved seat and supper. Sunday's show is $85 for general admission and $160 for a reserved seat and supper. Information: 951-699-3021, thorntonwine.com. (The Press-Enterprise, 7/8/2015)
- Dave Koz Celebrates 25th Anniversary ... Noted jazz saxophonist Dave Koz celebrates a career milestone with the July 31 release of "Collaborations: 25th Anniversary Collection." The Concord Records set features 15 tracks culled from Koz’s own previous recordings, projects he’s done with other artists and three new tracks. One of the new tracks is [an] instrumental version of "Let It Go" -- the anthem from the 2013 Disney film Frozen -- closes out the set. "Some of my favorite moments in the last 25 years have been collaborations with ... mentors, and friends and people whom I never would have expected to meet,” Koz said in a press release announcing the project. "And that's the power of music. It will come up against any wall that can divide people and bring it right down." The nine-time Grammy nominee will be performing at the Thornton Winery in Temecula, Calif., on July 11-12. His summer tour also includes stops in Atlanta (July 24), New York (Aug. 5), Las Vegas (Aug. 22), Los Angeles (Aug. 23) and San Diego (Sept. 25). "Collaborations: 25th Anniversary Collection" [includes] "Apartment 2G: I Hear Her Playing Music" - Barry Manilow featuring Dave Koz (from Barry's 2001 release, "Here At The Mayflower"). (Billboard.com, 7/6/2015)
- July 4 2015 Events Washington DC: Things To Do For Independence Day In The Capital - July Fourth is finally here. Three days of fun, friends and fireworks await you no matter where you live in the United States, but the celebrations will be particularly joyous in the nation's capital. Washington, D.C. is the place to be for Independence Day, when history and modern culture collide with events of all kinds. The city was already preparing for the crowds: On Friday, the Metro Police Department set up security checkpoints inside subway stations, stopping people to conduct random inspections as visitors and residents entered the stations. Transportation Security Administration agents were also present, so you can celebrate safely. Here are things to do in D.C. this weekend ... On Saturday, kick back and listen to A Capitol Fourth, the traditional concert on the West Lawn. Admission starts at 3 p.m. for the 8 p.m. concert, during which you'll hear the National Symphony Orchestra as well as legendary musician Barry Manilow, country singer Hunter Hayes and former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger. Bringing food and drink is OK, but leave the alcohol at home. The show will also be broadcast live on PBS. (International Business Times, 7/3/2015)
- Fourth of July TV highlights - Celebrate the holiday with the 35th annual "A Capitol Fourth" special (PBS at 8), featuring headliner Barry Manilow, Nicole Scherzinger, Alabama, Hunter Hayes, KC and the Sunshine Band, Meghan Linsey, Lang Lang, Jack Everly, Ronan Tynan, Robert Davi, the Choral Arts Society of Washington, and the National Symphony Orchestra as well as several military ensembles. (Washington Post, 7/3/2015)
- Let TV put you in the July Fourth spirit - By falling on a Saturday, the Fourth of July has created a conundrum for TV programmers. Do they start the holiday weekend on Friday and go for two days? Three? What about those who choose Monday as their official holiday? Don’t they deserve marathons, too? What if you’re relying on television to get you into the Independence Day spirit? Here are some shows and marathons that might help ... As it does every year, PBS broadcasts "A Capitol Fourth," live from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol at 7 p.m. Saturday. Twenty cameras around Washington, D.C., show that "viewers are front and center for the greatest display of fireworks in the nation," PBS says. This year’s performers include Alabama, Barry Manilow, Hunter Hayes, KC and the Sunshine Band and Ronan Tynan, with the National Symphony Orchestra and the U.S. Army Band. The whole show is repeated at 8:30. (Daily Herald (Provo, UT), 7/3/2015)
- Fourth of July Music on TV - There's no better way to celebrate America's independence then by kicking your feet up in front of the TV -- hot dog in hand -- while watching some of your favorite artists sing on screen ... PBS' A Capitol Fourth is an hour and a half concert held on the U.S. Capitol Lawn hosted by Emmy-winning actor Bradley Whitford. Barry Manilow, Nicole Scherzinger, Hunter Hayes, Alabama, KC & the Sunshine Band and Meghan Linsey are just a few of the artists performing at the event, followed by a fireworks show (8–9:30 p.m. ET). (Billboard.com, 7/3/2015)
- Not interested in fireworks outdoors? Try TV's, instead - If you're not out celebrating the Fourth of July on Saturday but still want to get in on the fireworks -- no worries. You can enjoy Independence Day happenings from the comfort of your couch. Twin Cities Public Television is airing "A Capitol Fourth" (7 p.m.) hosted by [Bradley Whitford] and featuring a grand fireworks display along with performances by Barry Manilow, Alabama, Hunter Hayes, KC and the Sunshine Band, the National Symphony Orchestra and pops conductor Jack Everly. (Pioneer Press (Twin Cities), 7/2/2015)
- Things to do in the D.C. area on Fourth of July weekend - Here are the Independence Day weekend's best bets in nightlife, festivals, music, sports and so much more around the Washington area. For more information about July 4 events around the Mall, check out this list of Fourth of July events ... Saturday: The gates for "A Capitol Fourth" on the West Lawn of the Capitol open at 3 p.m., giving you plenty of time to find a spot for the concert -- featuring Barry Manilow, Alabama, up-and-coming country singer Hunter Hayes, KC and the Sunshine Band, the National Symphony Orchestra and others — and the fireworks, which start after dark. The concert starts at 8 p.m., the fireworks go boom at 9:09 p.m., and admission is free. (Washington Post, 7/2/2015)
- 4th of July TV: local, national, 'Dandy' - If you love Fourth of July fireworks, television offers several options ... "A Capitol Fourth" is PBS' holiday contribution from 8 to 9:30 p.m., with an immediate repeat at 9:30 p.m. Bradley Whitford of "The West Wing" hosts the Washington event. The lineup includes Barry Manilow, KC and the Sunshine Band, Alabama, Nicole Scherzinger, Hunter Hayes, Meghan Linsey of "The Voice," pianist Lang Lang and Irish tenor Ronan Tynan. Conductor Jack Everly leads the National Symphony Orchestra. Actor Robert Davi helps celebrate Frank Sinatra, one of America's greatest singers. (Orlando Sentinel, 7/2/2015)
- D.C. community calendar ... A Capitol Fourth - [Bradley Whitford] hosts this year’s festivities: entertainment, fireworks, appearances by Barry Manilow, Alabama, Nicole Scherzinger, Hunter Hayes, Meghan Linsey, KC and the Sunshine Band, Lang Lang, Ronan Tynan and Robert Davi; Jack Everly conducting the National Symphony Orchestra, the Choral Arts Society of Washington and other performers including the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own,” U.S. Army Presidential Salute Battery and members of the Joint Armed Forces Chorus, with members of the Military District of Washington carrying the state and territorial flags with the Armed Forces Color Guard, followed by spectacular fireworks. 8 p.m. U.S. Capitol, West Lawn, East Capitol and First streets. 202-619-7222. Free. (Washington Post, 7/2/2015)
- In the District, Maryland and Virginia, July 4 celebrations will light up the sky - A Capitol Fourth Barry Manilow, Alabama, Nicole Scherzinger, Hunter Hayes, Meghan Lindsay, KC and the Sunshine Band, Lang Lang and Ronan Tynan perform with the National Symphony Orchestra, Choral Arts Society of Washington and military ensembles for broadcast on PBS, concluding with fireworks. The Capitol grounds open at 3 p.m.; gates for the concert open at 5 p.m., concert, 8-9:30 p.m. West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol building, 100 Constitution Ave. NE. 202-467-4600. www.pbs.org/a-capitol-fourth/home. Free. (Washington Post, 7/1/2015)
- Local band heads to D.C. to play at Kennedy Center - Hand-picked for their musical excellence, roughly 30 high school jazz musicians will head to Washington D.C. to perform on July 4. "Being there in the nation's capital on the Fourth of July, that's just got to be an invigorating and electrifying experience," Pacific Grove trumpet player George Haugen said ... "It's a very big deal and it's just a fabulous opportunity for our county (to show off its best) students. These are students that have worked very, very hard this whole season," band director Paul Contos said ... The group has been rehearsing for weeks. "That's going to be amazing. It's great just being there and being able to be there with all my friends. Being able to play together in D.C. is just going to be amazing," band member Akili Bradley said ... "I'm just honored that we get to perform in a nationally recognized venue and of all days, July 4th," Haugen said. The band and vocal jazz ensemble [will] open for Barry Manilow, who will perform after the high schoolers in the well-known Capitol celebration. But for these students, it's about more than just prestige. It's all about the music. "Music gives me the chance to express myself," Haugen said. "It's all about the love and respect of America's music," band member Miranda Garcia said. (KSBW Action News 8, 6/30/2015)