Cover Story

DAVE KOZ

The handsome, dynamic saxman can’t wait to get back in front of audiences in venues where he can “almost reach out and touch someone” 

By Preston Turegano

Here’s a question those kids on Fox Television’s “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” probably can’t answer: Why was four-time Grammy-nominated saxophonist and one-time People magazine “50 Hottest Bachelors” honoree Dave Koz shown in the audience of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars”?

Answer: Koz bought his tickets to the dance contest during an auction to raise money for his favorite charity, the Starlight Starbright Children’s Foundation, which tries to brighten the lives of seriously ill children and their families.

His low four-figure bid for the ducats came right after “Dancing With the Stars” (recently eliminated) contestant Heather Mills bid $30,000 to go on Koz’s 2007 jazz cruise.

“I was so amazed,” Koz said. “When I asked her why she had spent so much for a cabin that was valued at just $5,000, she said, ‘Because I play the alto sax and you’re going to give me a lesson while on the cruise.’ I had to return the gesture, so I went for the tickets.”

Even before his encounter with the soon-to-be former Mrs. Paul McCartney, Koz was a “Dancing With the Stars” fan because, he said, the reality series, and Fox’s mega-hit “American Idol,” have brought something back to TV that has been missing for years—the use of a large live orchestra.

“Both have done great things for music,” Koz said during a recent telephone interview. “They’re throwbacks to the musical variety shows our parents watched and some of us grew up with.”

Live performances turn Koz on as much as producing an album. His latest recording—At the Movies—was released in January. A DVD filmed version of the album is set for release later this year. The movie is also slated to be a PBS special.

“I love a big stage and playing to lots of people,” Koz said from his Los Angeles office. “But there are times, particularly at wineries during the summer, where I perform in very intimate venues. You’re literally right on top of the audience. You almost can reach out and touch someone. That’s a very special thing for me and I hope I can always have that experience whenever possible.” 

The complete story can be found in the May edition of Smooth Jazz News.  Click here to subscrbe today. Receive an issue monthly, February through December, for $35.

On Tour
Koz’s schedule includes the following upcoming performances:

  • June 3
    15th Annual Capital Jazz Fest
    Merriweather Post Pavilion
    10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy.
    Columbia, Maryland
    www.capitaljazz.com
  • July 28 & 29
    Thornton Winery’s Champagne Jazz Series
    32575 Rancho California Road
    Temecula, California
    www.jazzconcerts.com
    (951) 699-3021