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The Koz’s Saxophonic Musings

“I called this album Saxophonic because I really let the instrument dictate where the songs would go,” says Dave Koz, the smooth-jazz saxophonist and philosopher. We, too, think it’s good that instruments dictate where songs go. Therefore, we are hereby claiming ourselves disciples of the Koz. Take us to your fortress of solitude and sooth us with your musings and soulful sounds, oh gentle reedist.

Saxophonic is the Koz’s latest proper leader date for Capitol, following his gold-certified 1999 CD The Dance, plus the guest-laden theme albums A Smooth Jazz Christmas (2001) and Golden Slumbers (2002). Where has the Koz been these last four years? Reading books? Practicing his horn? Composing fat-bottomed jams? YES, SIR! Saxophonic hits the streets on October 7, and according to the press release, here’s what you can expect from it:
•jazz-funk jams
•soulful ballads
•curious experimental excursions into hip-hop instrumentalism

That’s a virtual cornucopia of musical knowledge.

And just to show you how advanced the Koz is, Saxophonic is not just “some album”; it’s a song cycle broken into three musical “Acts.” Sit back, Jack, and listen to this philosophizin’: Act 1 features funky tunes like the first single, “Honey-Dipped,” plus “Love Changes Everything,” “All I See Is You” and “Just to Be Next To You.” Act 2 finds the Koz and his accompanists thinking on and with their instruments for “Let It Free,” “Undeniable,” “Saxophonic” and “Definition of Beautiful.” Saxophonic‘s denouement is Act 3, featuring electronica and hip-hop-tinged tracks like “Sound of the Underground,” “Only Tomorrow Knows,” “I Believe” and “A View From Above.”

“The Acts really represent moods,” Koz says, rubbing his philosopher’s stone and straightening his long white robe. “Act 1 is about discovery and the early stages of a relationship. Act 2 is like the adventure. Act 3 is a bit more of what a relationship is really about, once you’ve had your fun and you’ve moved beyond the honeymoon. We really put a good amount of thought into making this record a cohesive listening experience, as opposed to ‘I just like song 7’.”

My. Mind. Blown.

Joining the Koz on all that musical thinking are Jeff Koz, Brian Culbertson, Jeff Lorber, Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken, and Saxophonic features guitarist Marc Antoine, trumpeter Chris Botti, vocalists Javier and Brian McKnight, with guest appearances by Jeff Lorber, Brian Culbertson and Norman Brown. That’s like a Socratic circle of smooth!

The almighty Koz will bring his circle of sonic intelligentsia on the road this fall, with special guests Lorber, Antoine and Botti. Here’s where the Koz and his disciples will be dropping knowledge:

9/28 • Anchorage, AK • Center for Performing Arts

10/02 • El Paso, TX • Abraham Chavez Theatre

10/03 • Phoenix, AZ • Celebrity Theatre

10/04 • Temecula, CA • Thornton Winery

10/05 • Temecula, CA • Thornton Winery

10/08 • Santa Rosa, CA • Luther Burbank Center

10/10 • Las Vegas, NV • Sunset Station

10/11 • Los Angeles, CA • Greek Theatre

10/12 • Santa Barbara, CA • Santa Barbara Bowl

10/15 • Denver, CO • Paramount Theatre

10/16 • Kansas City, KS • Uptown Theatre

10/17 • St Louis, MO • Touhill P.A.C. – University of MO

10/19 • Indianapolis, IN • Murat Center

10/23 • Philadelphia, PA • Tower Theatre

10/24 • Westbury, NY • Westbury Music Fair

10/26 • Uncasville, CT • Wolf Den

11/05 • Richmond, VA • Landmark Theater

11/06 • Norfolk, VA • Chrysler Theatre

Not had enough Koz yet? Me neither. Follow me over to for more wisdom.

Originally Published