Saxophonist Dave Koz's Saxophonic (Capitol), his first solo recording in four years, is a song-cycle that, according to Koz, reflects the arc of a relationship-from the heady early days to the "adventure," to the reality of a settled relationship.
Saxophonic is divided into "acts." Act One includes the rousing, catchy "Honey Dipped" and the grooving "Love Changes Everything," featuring singer Brian McKnight. The sly, funky title track appears in Act Two, along with the smoky "Undeniable." Koz played in Bobby Caldwell's band before launching his solo career, and Caldwell contributes vocals to "Undeniable," although it's a bit disappointing that this fine singer couldn't have been featured more prominently. Act Three includes tracks that are edgier than typical smooth-jazz fare, like "Only Tomorrow Knows," with its whistle accents, thumping groove and vocoder vocals, and "Sound of the Underground," which combines hip-hop rhythms and muted trumpet with a sample of Lee Morgan's classic "The Sidewinder."
With Saxophonic, Koz will undoubtedly rekindle one long-term relationship in particular-the one with the top of the smooth-jazz charts.