Dave Koz's greatest love is playing live
He's touring this summer supporting a new hit CD, Hello Tomorrow. He hosts two national radio shows. He does an annual Dave Koz & Friends holiday tour and also a Friends cruise. He's a Global Ambassador for the Starlight Children's Foundation, recently partnering with a Napa Valley winery on his own line of wines, the sale of which benefits the foundation. And he recently shot a video for his tune, This Guy's in Love with You, in support of marriage equality.
Somehow he managed to find time to visit with The Beat, and treated us like an old friend besides, also speaking -- unsolicited -- fondly of Columbus and his past warm receptions on stage here.
"I love doing our Christmas show at the Palace," he offered, adding, "I'm excited to be out on this tour with my band. It's something we don't do as often as maybe I'd like.
"The Christmas show is more elegant," Koz said. "Summertime and outdoor shows are about cutting loose and having fun."
Of the many irons he maintains in the fire, Koz said, none of it would be possible without the music.
And while his greatest love is playing live, Koz told The Beat that making records is an important part of his creative process. Hello Tomorrow is Koz's 12th studio recording, and captures his sense that the personal and global upheaval that the world is currently experiencing is the cusp of a significant shift moving forward.
"The world has a lot of my music, which is a blessing," Koz told The Beat, "so I feel like to make a record, I really need to have something to say. What's going to be the impetus?"
In this case, it was a song by his friend, singer-songwriter Dana Glover, which became the album's title track.
"It was like boom, there's the concept," he said. "Change is inevitable but there's an unprecedented amount of it in everybody's lives. People are disoriented and we can fight it or embrace it. That's what this album was for me, to come out on the other side more comfortable with discomfort."
If music is the thread that connects Koz's disparate interests and activities, the saxophone is the needle. An "awkward kid," Koz had tried a few instruments before he discovered the sax in seventh grade.
"It immediately became my best friend, a vehicle to express things I didn't have words for," he recalled. "It's been the primary relationship in my life."
After graduating from UCLA with a degree in mass media, he told his parents he was going to give music six months to see what could happen and then he'd find a real job. In that time, he scored gigs with Bobby Caldwell and Jeff Lorber, who championed a record deal for the young sax-man.
"You always have goals and you try to imagine where you could go," Koz told The Beat. "But life has a way of unfolding the way it wants. It's mostly just about being in that flow."