Chart topping saxophonist Dave Koz is coming to Rhode Island next week, and a few of his superstar friends are tagging along.
Over the past three decades, Koz has nine GRAMMY®️ nominations, nine No. 1 albums on Billboard’s Current Contemporary Jazz Albums chart, numerous world tours, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and more. Next Thursday August 22nd, Koz will be joined by Saxophonist Gerald Albright, Trumpeter Rick Braun, Vocalist Kenny Lattimore and Trombone/Vocalist Aubrey Logan (of Postmodern Jukebox). The “Summer Horns” as they known, are looking forward to their RI visit.
We spoke to Koz recently as he prepared for the tour which hits Cranston’s Park Theatre next week.
“First time for us in Cranston, Rhode Island,” Koz noted. “The ‘Summer Horns’ is a side project for a variety of artists who, like myself, had as their beginning blueprint in our musical DNA, playing in an ensemble, whether it was a jazz band or a concert band or a marching band. There’s something about the power of playing with other musicians, in a section, that never leaves you.”
Koz continued, “About five or six years ago we came up with the concept of ‘Summer Horns.’ We made a very successful album and had two tours behind that and then last year we got the itch again to make ‘Volume 2.’ This time, we added brass to expand the sound and the repertoire.”
No doubt, the familiar songs of “Summer Horns” will bring a smile to the listener.
“The five of us plus a killer band on the road playing this music that just makes people happy. (We play) classic songs with new, inventive arrangements — its been so much fun for us. It’s an infectious thing, the audience is usually right there with us,” remarked Koz.
“We’ll be playing selections from our first and second ‘Summer Horns’ albums. There are interesting things there. We did a sax-only version of Dave Brubeck’s ‘Take Five’ on our first album. On the second album we mashed together two songs from two New Yorkers separated by generations, Duke Ellington and Jay Z, both utilizing the sound of a horn section on a new version of ‘Take the A Train.’
“There’s a nice mix classics from Earth, Wind and Fire, Chicago, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Kool and the Gang. These are the songs and the bands that I grew up listening to, which I think was the golden era, all those bands had the horn sections, which is the sizzle that made those tracks super exciting. This whole project is a celebration of the horn section and its role in popular music. Each artist also has a chance to do a bit of their own music as well.”
Koz himself has been busy touring and recording, his most recent solo album “Live from the Dave Koz Cruise” is a collection of hits recorded on board his recent music cruise. He’s been featured on cruises for years.
“I’ve been hosting cruises for 15 years, and now there’s pretty much a music cruise for every taste, for every genre. I always encourage people to try to experience it. There’s nothing like it – once you set foot on that ship, maybe you don’t know one person on that ship, as soon you come aboard, you’re amongst family, there are no strangers. You’re all there because you love the music.
“We’re all on vacation together. There is no line between artists and guests. On our cruise, its like a melting pot, there are young and old, every race represented, gay and straight, Republican, Democrat, you name it, they’re on there. For one week, we are bound together unified by our shared love of music. Whats happens as a result, its like a parallel universe of what can be. I’ve seen it so many times, it’s so beautiful… The power of music to bring people together, especially in these times that we’re living in where there is so much negativity and divisiveness out there. It feels that way in our world right now.
“Music is a pure thing that people can still see to be connected to each other. You can have two people that can completely disagree on every possible thing and yet they like the same song. And therefore, you’ve got a point of connection. There’s a feeling of inclusivity, warmth and community.”
No doubt, you’ll feel some of that love when Koz and crew arrive in town next week. The show comes to the Park Theatre in Cranston on Thursday August 22. Further information and tickets available here.