In the 25 years since the release of his self-titled solo debut album, saxophonist Dave Koz has received nine GRAMMY® nominations, had nine No. 1 albums on Billboard’s Current Contemporary Jazz Albums chart, toured the world and been honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Reflecting on his extraordinary career, Dave decided to celebrate the milestone with a different kind of retrospective album.
“From the beginning, collaborations have been a special source of inspiration to me. I wanted to shine a light on that process and share these recordings, which feature some of my favorite artists,” said Dave Koz.
Collaborations: 25th Anniversary Collection, Koz’s latest album on Concord Records, features three brand new tracks – “Good Foot” with Jeff Lorber, “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher” with Kenny Lattimore and Rick Braun and “Let It Go” (from Frozen) with Sturken & Rogers – plus previously recorded collaborations with Barry Manilow (who recently tapped Dave as opener on his One Last Time! tour of the U.S.), Luther Vandross, Stevie Nicks, Stevie Wonder, Toby Keith, Herb Alpert, Rod Stewart, David Benoit and Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox, among others.
In the course of his career, Koz has also played with such artists as Burt Bacharach, Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Celine Dion, Shelby Lynne, Kenny Loggins, U2 and Michael McDonald. A platinum-selling artist, he is also known as a humanitarian, entrepreneur, radio host and instrumental music advocate.
Born and raised in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley, Dave initially just saw the saxophone as a way to help him gain entry into his big brother’s band. What began as a ploy became a lifelong obsession. After graduating from UCLA, Koz decided to become a professional musician. Within weeks of that decision, he was recruited as a touring member of Bobby Caldwell’s band. It was during this time that Koz befriended keyboardist Jeff Lorber, who invited Koz to come play on one of his tours. That stint was followed by a fourteen-month tour with pop singer Richard Marx.
Signed to Capitol Records by Bruce Lundvall, Koz released his self-titled solo debut album in 1990. This was the first in a body of best-selling work, which includes the gold-certified Lucky Man (1993), Off The Beaten Path (1996), and the holiday-themed albums December Makes Me Feel This Way (1997) and Dave Koz & Friends – A Smooth Jazz Christmas (2001). His gold-certified fifth album, The Dance (1999), spawned no less than five Top 5 contemporary jazz hits. Saxophonic (2003) produced another four Top 5 singles and garnered Koz two GRAMMY® nominations spanning two consecutive years.
In 2007, Koz released two chart-topping collections of standards. At The Movies, his lush, romantic celebration of timeless melodies from cinema, spent 12 weeks atop Billboard’s Top Contemporary Jazz chart. Produced by the legendary Phil Ramone, it was nominated for a GRAMMY® in the “Best Pop Instrumental Album” category. Memories Of A Winter’s Night, a festive collection of holiday standards, hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Contemporary Jazz chart in December 2007. Dave Koz At The Movies Double Feature CD + DVD followed in early 2008, which featured the At The Movies CD with two never-before- released bonus audio tracks, a new DVD and a track-by-track commentary.
Capitol Records released Dave Koz – Greatest Hits, his first-ever retrospective album, in the fall of 2008 and it debuted at No. 1 on both Billboard’s Top Contemporary Jazz Albums chart and iTunes’ Jazz Album chart. The collection included many of Koz’s smash singles – including “Castle of Dreams,” “Can’t Let You Go” featuring the late Luther Vandross, “Together Again,” “Honey-Dipped” and “All I See Is You” – plus four new brand new songs. Lead single “Life In The Fast Lane,” which Koz co-wrote with writer/producer Darren Rahn, spent seven weeks at No. 1 on the R&R Monitored Smooth Jazz chart. It was followed by the Top 5 single “Bada Bing.”
Hello Tomorrow – Dave’s first album for Concord Records – debuted at No. 1 on both Billboard’s Top Contemporary Jazz Albums chart and iTunes’ Jazz Album chart and was named the “Best Smooth Jazz Album of 2010” by iTunes. The CD was nominated for a GRAMMY® award for Best Pop Instrumental Album. Hailed as “an event record” by The New York Times, its lead single, “Put The Top Down,” spent 18 weeks at No. 1 on the Mediabase Smooth A/C chart – the longest stint at No. 1 of any of Koz’s chart-topping hits. Ultimate Christmas, featuring 18 perennial holiday classics performed by Koz, bowed in 2011 on Capitol/EMI. Live at the Blue Note Tokyo, Koz’s first-ever live CD, was released by Concord Records in 2012 and received a GRAMMY® nomination for Best Pop Instrumental Album.
Koz and his friends Gerald Albright, Richard Elliot and Mindi Abair turned to producer Paul Brown (Al Jarreau, George Benson, June Tabor, Boney James) to help them realize the vision for 2013’s Summer Horns (also on Concord Records), which paid tribute to the high-octane, richly arranged horn sections that fueled hits across all genre boundaries in the ’60s and ’70s. The album also features trumpeter/flugelhornist Rick Braun, trombonist Brian Culbertson, vocalists Michael McDonald, Jeffrey Osborne and Jonathan Butler – plus arrangements by Greg Adams (Tower of Power) and Tom Scott. Topping it off is a sax-only rendition of “Take Five” with Gordon Goodwin offering his arrangement to the quartet and a new original composition, “Summer Horns.” The album was honored with a GRAMMY nomination for Best Pop Instrumental Album and an NAACP Image Awards nomination for Outstanding Jazz Album.
His 2014 holiday recording, The 25th of December (Concord Records), was Dave’s eighth album to top Billboard’s Current Contemporary Jazz Albums chart. Produced by Rickey Minor, it featured collaborations with India.Arie, Eric Benét, Jonathan Butler, Gloria Estefan, Fantasia, Kenny G, Heather Headley, Richard Marx, Johnny Mathis, Trombone Shorty, BeBe Winans and Stevie Wonder. The first single – an all-star rendition of the Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love” – beautifully captured the spirit of the season and was a Top 5 hit on Billboard’s Smooth Jazz Songs chart. Collaborations: 25th Anniversary Collection debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Current Contemporary Jazz Albums chart in August of 2015 while the lead single, “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher” with Kenny Lattimore and Rick Braun, entered the Top 5 at Smooth A/C and Jazz Radio.
Dave is constantly touring, with annual summer and holiday tours, and the highly successful Dave Koz & Friends At Sea. His next two voyages are sold out, bringing his tally of sold out cruises to seven. In 2017, he’ll host two back-to-back voyages to “Venice and Beyond.” Dave also continues to flex his mass- communications muscles as a radio personality. As host of his syndicated “Dave Koz Radio Show,” he has been broadcasting coast-to-coast for more than 21 years. In the spring of 2014, he launched “The Dave Koz Lounge,” which airs Sundays on SiriusXM (Satellite radio), and “Dave Koz & Friends Radio,” a 24-hour-a- day radio channel personally curated by Dave on JAZZRADIO.com, a multichannel internet radio service.
As an entrepreneur, Koz founded Rendezvous Entertainment. In 2015, he joined forces with Cary Hardwick and Laurie Sisneros, partners and owners of Spaghettini in Seal Beach, to open a second location in Beverly Hills.
As a philanthropist, Koz has served as global ambassador for the Starlight Children’s Foundation for over 20 years. With KOZ Wines, founded in 2009, he found another way to help Starlight continue its vital mission. Dave is donating all his proceeds from KOZ Wines to Starlight. The wines are available at Whole Foods Markets®, Amazon and California Pizza Kitchen. Two wines from Koz’s partnership with premium Santa Barbara winemaker Terravant picked up Gold and Best of Class awards in the 2014 Los Angeles International Wine Competition
Koz completed a four-year term on the GRAMMY® Foundation Artists Committee and has served as National Trustee for the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS).
Larry Graham, Jr.:
Larry Graham, Jr. is an American baritone singer, musician, songwriter, and record producer. He is best known as both the bass guitar player in the popular and influential psychedelic soul/funk band Sly & the Family Stone, and as the founder and front man of Graham Central Station. He is credited with the invention of the slapping technique, which radically expanded the tonal palette of the bass, although he himself refers to the technique as “Thumpin' and Pluckin'.” Bass Player magazine, Apr 07
The Early Days:
Larry Graham Jr. was born on August 14, 1946 in Beaumont, Texas but he was raised in Oakland, California. At the age of 5 he began preparing for his life course as a performer by learning to tap dance and shortly thereafter began to take piano lessons. In Junior high he joined the school band playing drums which he continued to do all the way through high school. However at the age of 11 his father gave him his own personal guitar since his father decided he wasn’t going to perform anymore. Larry then taught himself to play and that same year he began his professional music career playing in his first band. At 13 he recorded his first record. By his teens he was playing a number of instruments including the drums, piano, guitar, bass and harmonica. At 15 he joined his mother’s band – “The Dell Graham Trio”. His mother played piano, with him on guitar and Ruben Kerr on drums (a member of his first band).
At age 15, one of the nightclubs where they performed regularly had a house organ available that had bass pedals on it. Larry taught himself to play the bass pedals while playing the guitar & singing, all at the same time. One night the organ broke down leaving the band without the bass sound they had become used to. So Larry rented a St. George bass from Music Unlimited in San Leandro CA. until the organ could be repaired.
Larry’s mother decided to change their trio into a duo, just bass and piano. So Larry compensated for not having a bass drum by “thumping” the strings and made up for not having a snare drum by “plucking” them. He wasn’t concerned with playing the so called “correct” over hand style method of playing the bass since this was only temporary until the organ could be repaired. As it turned out, it was beyond repair… and the rest is history!
Sly and the Family Stone Days:
In 1968 Larry joined Sly and the Family Stone. Their first album “A Whole New Thing” provided a way for people all over the country to hear Larry’s unique bass playing. Their next album had a number of hit singles such as “Dance to the Music” and “Everybody Is a Star,” both of which allowed his voice as well as his thumping & plucking bass style to be heard around the globe. In 1993 Larry was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Sly and the Family Stone.
Graham Central Station Days:
In the early70s, Larry left Sly and the Family Stone and started to produce a band named Hot Chocolate, which he eventually joined and renamed it Graham Central Station. The group included guitarist David “Dynamite” Vega on guitar, Robert “Butch” Sam on organ, Hershall “Happiness” Kennedy on keyboard, Patrice “Chocolate” Banks vocalist/ percussionist, and Willie “Wild” Sparks on drums. The first album released in early 1974 was named “Graham Central Station” and it included the hit “Can You Handle It.” Later in 1974 the next album “Release Yourself” yielded the hit “Feel the Need”.. That same year GCS was nominated for a Grammy for the “Best New Artist of 1974”. Then in 1975 the third album “Ain't No Bout-A-Doubt It”, which went Gold and gave us the single “Your Love,” landed in the Top 40 and topped the R&B charts. That album also gave us “The Jam”. In 1976 GCS released the album “Mirror” which included the hit “Love Covers a Multitude of Sin”.
The title track of the 1977 album “Now Do U Wanta Dance” soared on the R&B charts. The final two albums that GCS released were “My Radio Sure Sounds Good to Me” which title track by the same name featured Tina Graham on lead vocal. In 1978 the band released “Star Walk”.
In the 1990’s, GCS featured Larry’s former Sly and the Family Stone band members Cynthia Robinson and Jerry Martini. They regularly performed with Prince in a number of concerts as well as in Prince’s Jam of the Year tour. GCS released a Japanese album “By Popular Demand”. Their last album to date “GCS 2000” was released in 1999.
The Solo Days:
In 1979 Larry launched his solo career and then became known for his soulful ballads. In 1980 he released the album “One in a Million You” and its title track became not only a Top Ten hit, but one of the most beloved romantic ballads. Larry was also nominated for another Grammy for the “Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male”. The album “Just Be My Lady” was another hit for Larry from his 1981 album of the same name. Then 1982 saw the release of “Sooner or Later” which also enjoyed great popularity. In 1983 Larry released his album “Victory “and in 1985 he released an album in Japan “Fired Up”. In 1987 Larry recorded a duet with Aretha Franklin named “If You Need My Love Tonight”. A few years later Larry teamed up with his friend comedian/singer Eddie Murphy to lead Eddies band Psychedelic Psoul which toured the U.S. and Europe.
Larry is continuously writing (which he will always do) and he along with the rest of Sly and the Family Stone received the Rhythm & Blues “Pioneer Award” in 2001. He has also been very involved in his volunteer work as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses which he has done since 1975. Larry has also performed at international venues both as a solo performer as well as with Graham Central Station and Prince and enjoyed a very successful world tour in 2010. Once again Larry and GCS are again sharing the joy of funk with their 2011 “Funk Around The World” Tour. Larry is currently working on his newest CD that is due out soon.
“I hope you enjoy my website that has been designed with you in mind. I look forward to staying in touch with my friends on larrygraham.com as well as on select social network sites that are linked with larrygraham.com. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my loyal friends. Whether you’ve been a friend for decades or a more recent friend, it is my great pleasure to bring you joy by means of my music”. ~ Larry Graham