With enough interesting highlights to balance the listenable, but cruise-controlled radio tracks, The Dance (Capitol CDP 7243 8 99458 2 1-V) shapes up as one of pop saxophonist Dave Koz's most varied works to date. Koz's talents shine through on the romantic, old-fashioned "Know You By Heart," which nestles his warm alto melody in a comfortable bed of strings arranged by David Benoit-for a simple, lovely effect. This tasteful tune contrasts with the more syrup-inflected "I'm Waiting for You," which despite the trappings finds the expressive saxman stretching his alto notes into virtual sighs. The unexpected treasures are worth unearthing, however, like the swaying, selling chant-like adventure tune "You Are Me, I Am You," which builds a layered, world-rhythmic tapestry on the interplay between Koz's alto and Marc Antoine's Spanish guitar. The album's title track provides another rich highlight-and another key guest in BeBe Winans. A sparse opening of vocal and piano opens up into a great bittersweet gospel ballad. Contrast this with an uninspired cover of '80s ballad "Careless Whisper" (sorry, but Montell Jordan's breathy,
soul idol vocal can't hold a candle to George Michael), and appreciate how rewarding the more complex steps of this Dance can be.