Dave Koz is an American saxophonist who plays mostly smooth jazz music. Born in California’s San Fernando Valley in 1963, Koz began playing saxophone as a youth in order to play in his brother’s band. He continued to play the instrument throughout his formative years, including in his high school’s jazz band. Within weeks of graduating UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications in 1986, Koz decided to become a professional musician.
Soon after graduating, Koz was recruited by singer Bobby Caldwell to play on his tour. For the next several years, Koz played as a session musician for a number of bands, including those of Richard Marx and Jeff Lorber. He also briefly played in the house band for “The Pat Sajak Show” and served as the bandleader on the “Emeril Lagasse Show.”
Koz eventually embarked on a solo career, signing with Capitol Records and releasing his self-titled debut album in 1990. This was followed by several successful follow-up albums, including Lucky Man and The Dance, both of which were gold-certified with the latter album producing two Top 5 contemporary jazz hits. In 2003, Koz released Saxophonic, which was nominated for two Grammy Awards and an NAACP Image Award.
In 1994, the syndicated radio program previously known as “Personal Notes” became “The Dave Koz Radio Show”, which featured recent smooth jazz music, news and interviews. Koz also co-hosted “The Dave Koz Morning Show with Pat Prescott” for a Los Angeles-based smooth jazz radio station. In 2002, Koz’s record label, Rendezvous Entertainment, was officially launched. Also involved with the label were Hyman Catz and Frank Cody. After six years with “The Dave Koz Morning Show,” Koz departed in 2007 to pursue other interests.
Koz currently hosts a TV series named “Frequency” in which he interviews musicians like Kelly Sweet, Earth, Wind & Fire and Jonathon Butler. At the end of every episode, Koz accompanies the musicians on saxophone, adding to and improvising on top of their songs.
For 17 years, Koz has served as global ambassador for the Starlight Children’s Foundation. The goal of this organization is improve the lives of children suffering from chronic and terminal illnesses or debilitating injuries. For his work with the organization, Koz received the 2006 Humanitarian of the Year Award. Koz also joins with his fans every holiday season to deliver stuffed bears to hospitalized children.
Koz uses a number of different instruments, including a silver Yamaha YAS-62S alto sax with a #7 beechler metal mouthpiece, a silver Yamaha YSS-62S soprano sax with a #8 Couf mouthpiece, a vintage Conn curved soprano sax and a Selmer Mark 6 tenor sax with a Berg-Larsen hard rubber mouthpiece. He uses Rico Plasticover #3 reeds.
Following is a clip of Dave playing “You Make Me Smile.”