Koz and effect

Platinum-selling saxophonist, radio personality and committed philanthropist - it’s no wonder Dave Koz has been named as one of America’s most eligible bachelors.

By Adam Zacharias

Published: Wed 25 Feb 2009, 9:29 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 11:29 PM

And this year he’s even getting his own star on the Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame. Dave chatted to City Times about Lisa Simpson, bad drumming and his charity work

CATCH A SPECTACULAR performance by six-time Grammy-nominated saxophonist Dave Koz, as he heads to the emirate for the sixth Dubai International Jazz Festival.

Dave first picked up the sax on the insistence of his older brother Jeff, who was in a band. The Los Angeles native took to the instrument like a duck to water, turning professional after gaining a degree in mass communications from UCLA.

Since releasing his self-titled debut album almost two decades ago, Dave has made another dozen records - the most recent of which was a greatest hits collection last year - and played alongside countless icons such as U2, Rod Stewart, Celine Dion and Ray Charles.

The 45-year-old has also hosted his own radio show, founded record label Rendezvous Entertainment and become a global ambassador for the Starlight Children’s Foundation for seriously ill youngsters.

He is also a member of the board of governors for the Grammy Foundation and has served on both the Grammy Foundation Artists Committee and as national trustee for the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

In 2004, Dave was named one of People magazine’s hottest bachelors, and later this year he will receive his very own star on the Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame - after being named in a list which included the likes of Sir Ben Kingsley, Robert Downey Jr., Shakira and Tim Burton.

City Times spoke with Dave, who will play the Cadillac Stage of Dubai Media City Amphitheatre on Thursday, February 26.

What are you looking forward to in Dubai, and what have you got lined up for your set at the festival?

I’ve heard some amazing things about Dubai from friends who’ve been there, and I can’t wait to see it for myself. I’m especially excited to be part of this festival, and we’ve planned a super high-energy set to introduce the great folks who come to my music. It’s always a great honour for me to travel the world and share my music - especially in such exotic spots on the globe.

Is it true that you tried the drums before the saxophone, but weren’t any good? Why do you think you couldn’t keep time on the drums, but you can on the sax?

Funny, but true. I really was a bad drummer. But I think it’s all about finding your true voice. For me, that didn’t happen until the day I picked up a saxophone for the first time. It felt like I had found another part of my body. It was very natural from the first moments - unlike the drums!

Do you think your older brother asked you to learn saxophone initially to put you off joining his band?

I think he might’ve been just trying to get me off his back! But truthfully, no one has been more supportive of my career than Jeff. He’s been amazing in every way. And I take great delight in knowing the biggest hits in my career have come from working with him.

Do you identify in any way with Lisa Simpson’s sax-obsessed character on The Simpsons?

I love the show - and who doesn’t love Lisa Simpson? She’s the sanest person on the show. Perhaps it has something to do with playing the sax?

How does it feel to get your own star on the Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame?

Having been born and raised in LA, this has an even more special feeling. I grew up walking down those famous streets and looking at all the names. And coming this year, my name will join the ranks - it’s pretty exciting and I’m extremely honoured. We picked a spot near the famous Captiol Records Tower on Vine Street in Hollywood. I hope it will actually go there - it’s very near Garth Brooks, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Bonnie Raitt. Some good company for sure!

Is it frustrating to have been nominated for a Grammy six times and never won?

The old adage is true, you know - it’s great to be nominated. But in that moment when your category is being announced, you really want to win! It hasn’t happened yet, but I am grateful to have been invited to the party six times now, and I hope one day to actually take home one of those trophies.

How did you become involved with the Starlight Children’s Foundation, and what you have learnt from your time with the charity?

I learned about Starlight from its founder, the actress Emma Samms (who played Fallon Carrington Colby in hit soap Dynasty), and I’ve been involved now for some 15 years. I am so blown away by their commitment to improving the lives of sick kids and their families, all over the world. If there’s been one thing I’ve learned from the experience, it’s compassion.

You’ve played alongside numerous legends in your career. What are your most treasured memories from these collaborations?

I feel so blessed to have made music with so many of my musical heroes, and from each I take away something special. There have been many lessons learned for sure. From Burt Bacharach I learned about never looking back and always focusing on the future. From Stevie Wonder, I learned about being in the moment and truly spontaneous. From Rod Stewart, I learned about what it’s like to be a true rock star! While I’ve had many wonderful experiences in this journey so far, what keeps me going is the promise of more musical relationships developing in the future, as I am a born collaborator. Working with other musicians is when I’m at my most comfortable.

Event Details

What: Dave Koz live, as part of the Dubai International Jazz Festival

Where: Cadillac Stage, Dubai Media City Amphitheatre

When: Thursday February 26, from 9pm

Cost: Dhs295

Tickets: Available from www.boxofficeme.com, Hallmark stores, Spinneys, Virgin Megastores and www.souq.com

For further info: Visit www.davekoz.com, www.dubaijazzfest.com or call 04 391 1196

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