Welcome Back, Mr. Koz

Welcome Back, Mr. Koz

Saxophonist Dave Koz Returns to Fraze

By Alan Sculley

Photo by Lori Stoll

Saxophonist Dave Koz. Photo by Lori Stoll

Perhaps more than ever, jazz saxophonist Dave Koz sees his concerts this year – and the entertainment they provide – as playing a vital role in the larger lives of his audience.

Like most people in the music industry, he has watched some acts either cancel tours altogether or some shows because of low ticket sales.
Koz’s current tour with guitarist Jonathan Butler and percussionist Sheila E. is doing good business, Koz said, and he is especially thankful for the support fans are showing in these
challenging times.
“It’s kind of a great responsibility on our part, on stage, to make sure that that (the fans’) time and money is well spent and that people leave feeling that they really got something out of it,” Koz said in a phone interview last week.
That means, of course, giving fans a couple of hours of good entertainment. But Koz also hopes fans find the shows and the music inspiring and helpful during a season in which a lurching recovery to the economy has people worried about their jobs and their financial futures.
“It just feels, for a lot of people, no matter what you do, it’s a confusing time and a disorganized time and this strange feeling a lot of us have. It’s uncomfortable because we know it’s not going back to the way it was, which we were so comfortable with. Yet, there’s not this feeling of I know where
this is going. Music is really a primary source of inspiration and comfort in dealing with this interesting time that our generation has never dealt with. We’ve never dealt with the velocity and frequency of change that we’re experiencing right now at this moment in our lives.”
Koz, of course, is feeling the uncertainty within his own career. The entire music industry is in crisis over declining record sales that have resulted from illegal downloading of music.
“Recorded music is really a different world than it was a very short time ago,” he said. “People don’t seem to be consuming music in the same way. And whether that will improve, I’m not sure. I hope so.”
While doing concerts helps Koz return to the pure enjoyment of playing music and performing, he said writing music for his next CD has also been therapeutic and helped him embrace the uncertainties in his own life and career, which now has spanned two decades and more than a dozen albums in the smooth jazz genre. He hopes it will have the same effect on people that hear the CD, which is targeted for release
in October.
Called Hello Tomorrow, the new CD – which Koz has just finished recording – centers around dealing with the uncertainties in the world
today. The theme is present, Koz said, in songs like, “Start All Over Again,” one of a couple of vocal songs on the CD.
“And there are song titles and feelings of songs that are meant to access that part of peoples’ kind of consciousness when they’re listening to it,” he said. “It’s on a very subtle level, but there are song titles like ‘When Will I Know For Sure’ and ‘What You Leave Behind’ and ‘Remember Where You Came From’ and ‘It’s Always Been You.’ It’s kind of got a spir-
itual, a very subtle spiritual bent to it that if you listen to the music, and most of it is instrumental so it doesn’t tie you to a lyric, you can almost use it as a musical meditation – even though it’s got a lot of energy, by the way. It hopefully in a perfect world will allow people to find that
inspiration inside.”
Koz is pleased enough with Hello Tomorrow that he has been performing some of the new songs on his current tour. He said he has been happy with the musical quality of the shows this summer,
noting that he and Butler have a great chemistry on stage.
He expects that his show at Fraze Pavilion in Kettering will be a standout during this summer of touring. In recent years, the venue has been a regular tour stop, and with good reason.
“It’s hard not to like that venue because it’s sort of the epitome of the summer touring season,” Koz said. “It’s outside. It’s in this beautiful kind of suburban area. It feels like a little hamlet, just this quiet little area, and all of a sudden there’s this beautiful amphitheater outside. And the place is just set up for music. It’s just a perfect spot for a summer concert. It’s big, but not too big. You get enough of that roar of the crowd.
“Every time we play a show at Fraze, it’s always one of the most memorable of our summer touring season because of the audience. The audience that comes there, they’re ready to have a good time. I mean, from the first note, that’s what I remember most about that place. Boom, you hit the stage, and boom, you’re off to the races because the audience is just pumped. They’re ready for it.”
Dave Koz will perform with Jonathan Butler and special guest Sheila E. Saturday, July 31 at 7 p.m. at the Fraze Pavilion, 695 Lincoln Park Blvd., Kettering. Tickets are $27. For tickets or more information, call 1-800-745-3000 or visit online at www.Fraze.com
Reach DCP freelance
writer Alan Sculley at contactus@daytoncitypaper.com

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