Denon proudly presents an exclusive interview with Dave Koz, a saxophonist that has established himself to be one of the most prominent figures in contemporary music.
His career, one that spans over 2 decades and a dozen albums, is one that is noteworthy for his body of recorded work, entertaining performances, and numerous accomplishments. Recently he added to this long list his latest album, Hello Tomorrow, an album that showcases his performances along with many high-profile guests from the industry, including Herb Alpert, Jeff Lorber, Jonathan Butler, Christian Scott, and Sheila E., among others. The 13 tracks contained in the album focuses on being open to new beginnings, giving listeners a good and optimistic feeling towards the future, despite what uncertainty the present may bring.
Dave also continues to be a Global Ambassador for The Starlight Children’s Foundation, a role he has played for the past 15 years, to help the organization dedicated to making a difference for seriously ill children and their families.
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Dave Koz, and I am a musician, recording artist, radio show host and proud LA native! I grew up in the San Fernando Valley, in Tarzana…yes we native LA people exist! I live now in Beverly Hills, CA.
When did you first decide to become a musician, & what inspired you?
The saxophone really found me—I had played other instruments–badly I might add. But in 7th grade, mainly as a ploy to get into my older brother’s band, I picked up the alto sax. Admittedly, it felt immediately natural in my hands—and became my most trusted friend, confidante, ally and partner. I just loved it—and I was able to get all the feelings I was having as an awkward kid out through the horn…feelings that I wasn’t able to find words for. I still love playing…nothing quite like it. I consider it a great privilege to make this my life’s work—a great responsibility but also a great joy. I can get inspiration from every imaginable source—seeing a movie, reading a book…playing with my nieces, a romance gone north (or south!)
When did you first fall in love with music ?
I realized pretty early on that music had a very special property–that it touched the soul in a way that other art forms didn’t. At least for me, that is. My mom and dad had music playing in the house all the time—the classic singers, like Sinatra, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole. My older brother and sister were each listening to their own favorite albums, and so I was exposed early on to a real amalgam of sounds. When I finally was able to join my older brother’s band and start doing gigs (at 15), I suddenly realized the true power of live music and what it could do for people. I was hooked.
What is your idea of SOUND Bliss?
I was in NYC recently and was staying at a friend’s house who had this amazing turntable, stereo and unreal collection of jazz LPs. I was in heaven. I had forgotten how cool it was to listen to albums. The whole feeling of it—the sound, the texture, the warmth…and then having to turn the record over!! It was very special. But basically, I like warmth with my systems…it doesn’t need to be so super hi-fi…it just needs to sound pleasing, warm and open.
What was your first connection to Denon?
I owned a Denon system when I was in college…one of the first set of stereo components I ever bought—and loved it. So, it’s always been a name I trusted and related to.
Have you ever owned a piece of DENON equipment?
It was a power amp/receiver and cd player.
Tell us about your most memorable DENON moment?
It was in a friend’s house, recently—a friend with a good ear for music–and he had a full Denon system, decked out in his media room. Pretty awesome. Looked and sounded great. I love the sleek design—it sounds cool, yes…but it LOOKS cool too!
Who is doing work today that really inspires you?
There’s this artist, new on the scene named Janelle Monae…she’s just amazing. I really think a lot of Jason Mraz and his songwriting and delivery skills—I am always blown away by Alicia Keys and John Legend…and I never get tired of the guys like Elton and Stevie and Joni Mitchell and James Taylor. Artists who are always moving forward, not afraid to try new things and take their audience with them.
What are your favorite 5-10 songs that we would find on your music play list?
- What Is Hip – Tower Of Power
- This Masquerade – George Benson
- Both Sides Now – Joni Mitchell
- Hallelujah – KD Lang
- Any song by Frank Sinatra
- And about 100 more!
What do you think the future of music holds in store for us?
We’re really in this strange spot now…we all know music itself isn’t going anywhere—I think it’s actually becoming MORE vital, the crazier our world gets. It just that the delivery system is in major flux. The key will be figuring out how artists and music companies can continue to get paid for their work and have a fair system for consumers at the same time. I know we’ll get there—it just is a bit uncomfortable at the moment. But at times like these, I find it reassuring to remember how important music has always been to people as an emotional marker in their lives—and that absolutely will continue. No doubt.
If you could own a piece of sound equipment that would enhance your music or home theater experience, what would that be?
I’d get a great turntable—and find my album collection that was put into storage about 15 years ago. I’d get busy dusting off those classics!
Be sure to check out Dave Koz’s new album Hello Tomorrow. For more information on Dave, his radio show, and the Starlight Children’s Foundation, visit his website.