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December 2008

Dave Koz
Greatest Hits
Capitol Records

Best-of packages don’t often get reviewed since it’s assumed the contents have already been brought to light. But saxophonist Dave Koz’s first greatest hits compilation merits mention because it practically bulges with four new songs, his first of the smooth-jazz variety in five years. (He has released a holiday CD and one of his favorite movie themes in the meantime.) The best of the new bunch is undoubtedly “Life in the Fast Lane,” which is not a cover of the Eagles tune and was co-written with up-and-coming Denver hitmaker Darren Rahn. The song bounces along with typical Koz verve and gusto, and he was rewarded when it zoomed to No. 1 on the smooth charts.

Also new is “Bada Bing,” a sly wink to The Sopranos that swaggers along with a ballsy style enhanced by Jeff Golub’s bluesy guitar accents. “I Can,” meanwhile, is a vocal tune with BeBe Winans originally written for Chris Gardner, the real-life hero of the movie The Pursuit of Happyness. Finally, “And Then I Knew” is Koz’s first collaboration with Grammy-winning pop producer Rob Cavallo and features Koz’s spry soprano racing along like one of his biggest hits, “Together Again,” which of course is included here.

For the most part, Koz’s selection of greatest hits, in which he asked input from his fans, is solid with oldies like “Castle of Dreams” and “Emily” and newer ones like “All I See Is You” and “Love Changes Everything.” We can hope, though, a second set is on the way since Koz mysteriously left off the No. 1 hit “Let It Free.”

Originally published in December 2008
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