Hello Tomorrow (Concord Jazz)

Dave KozA year after Dave Koz receiving his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in front of Capitol Records, his label since his self titled debut back in 1990, the multiple Grammy nominated saxman says Hello Tomorrow to the next phase of his extraordinary, multi media career with his wonderful debut on Concord Jazz. It’s hard to believe but it is also his first full album of all original tracks since 2003’s hit Saxophonic. In the meantime, he’s done a movie theme album (At The Movies), another Christmas project (Memories of a Winter’s Night) and a Greatest Hits package with a few new tracks.
            Concord launched Hello Tomorrow in grand fashion with an interview and performance date in the intimate Clive Davis Theatre at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. As witty and charming as Koz always is, the interview portion became something of a glorious comedy routine when the album’s producer, the great Marcus Miller, came out to give his take on the project. His constant mention of Koz’s obsession with “The Mission” of the album brought a lot of laughter.

           The talk portion was interesting, but the evening really got rolling when Koz and his regular band (Brian Simpson, wildman guitarist Randy Jacobs, Andre Berry) joined drummer Gregg Field for a set of some of the best songs on the recording. These included the hard-grooving first single “Put The Top Down” (co-written with Brian Culbertson, who was sitting, enjoying, in the back of the room), a wonderful performance by Koz with the beautiful singer/songwriter Dana Glover (who contributed “Start All Over Again” to the album) and Koz’s graceful vocal on the classic “This Guy’s In Love With You.” Miller joined in for one of the less typical “Dave Kozzy” numbers that he wrote, “The Journey,” which showed the depth of his artistry and a little of the magic he brought to the Koz recording experience. Koz usually writes or co-writes all of his original material, but he explained that Glover’s outside contribution perfectly captured the theme of “embracing the future, no matter what the past” that this album is all about. The two performed “Start All Over Again” on ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” later in October.

            Elsewhere, the multi-talented saxman--whose ventures outside the recording arena include his long-running internationally syndicated Dave Koz Radio Show, Koz Wine and an annual Dave Koz & Friends at Sea cruise—keeps the appealing mix of super-melodic funk and sensual ballads flowing, with touches of blues (thanks to two “front porch” tunes featuring Keb’ Mo’) and world rhythms. Koz wrote five tunes with Culbertson, and trades licks with his recent summer tour mates Jonathan Butler and Sheila E. He’s also brought some exciting new guests to the party—including producers Miller and John Burk, guitar legend Lee Ritenour (who appears on “Put The Top Down”) and fellow genre saxman Boney James. Another compelling highlight is Miller playing bass, bass clarinet and Moog synth on “The Journey.” Even the biggest Koz fan might forget that the saxman sang on one of his holiday albums a number of years ago—and it’s nice to have his sweet voice back in the spotlight on a lush cover of “This Guy’s In Love With You,” with Herb Alpert guesting on trumpet.

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- Jonathan Widran