5 Questions: Dave Koz

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5 Questions is a series by Steve Duffy –

Summer Horns




Not only is Grammy-nominated Dave Koz an amazing saxophonist, but he is a radio DJ, record label executive and an Ambassador for the Starlight Starbright Children’s Foundation. He is also the opening act on Barry Manilow’s current tour, which comes to town next week.


SD: With so many different instruments to learn to play, why the saxophone?

DK: It chose me! As a kid, I (tried) played both drums and piano, but failed miserably. When I was 13, I wanted to join my brother’s band. He told me that only way I could was if I played the saxophone.

SD: You released your first album in 1990, how has your music changed since then?

DK: For me, I have been trying to evolve and reinvent myself continually over the years. Being open to and learning new things and not placing myself in a box has helped. The audience also plays a big part in that process too. Growing up, the jazz genre was exploding, and then it started to fall away, but jazz music didn’t. I have a new album named “Collaborations” coming out next month. Over the years, I have been very fortunate to collaborate with some great musicians: Toby Keith, Stevie Wonder, Rod Stewart, and Stevie Nicks.

SD: What do you enjoy most about performing with Barry Manilow?

DK: I have learned volumes from him. He has been a superstar for over 40 yrs. He is such a great musician. His knowledge about music is off the charts. I am always amazed at what he knows – he always keeps up to date on what is new and hot in music. He has been a great friend for the last 15 years. Touring with him has been the ultimate master class and the best experience that any musician could ever ask for. He says this is his last tour, I hope not.

SD: How did you get involved with the Starlight Children’s Foundation?

DK: It really happened by accident. My brother Jeff and I wrote one of the musical themes for General Hospital. While at a party, I met actress Emma Samms, the co-founder of the foundation. She came up to me and said, “I need you!” She asked if I would come to the hospital and play for the kids. Once you look into the face of a child who has a life threatening injury/ disease, you are hooked. The children are an inspiration to me. It doesn’t matter what they are going through, they still smile. They are just trying to be kids. The mission of the organization is to help with their hospital experience and make it more special for them.

SD: Do you have any kind of ritual you perform right before taking the stage for a performance?

DK: My band and I usually get in a circle and say a little prayer and then joke around. Having a point and focus to what we are doing really helps with our performance. Occasionally, I stay on stage and perform with Barry, but I also like to sit in with the audience and just watch how his music affects his fans. Music is like a church – it is healing, a collective experience. Music touches people on a much deeper level than words.

For more information on Dave Koz visit www.davekoz.com and to purchase tickets to see Dave at The TD North Garden with Barry Manilow on June 16th visit www.tdgarden.com

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