You won’t find jazz saxophonist Dave Koz at a Jews for Jesus rally, but he really loves Christmas music and, on Monday, Nov. 29, Koz will return to Fort Lauderdale’s Broward Center on his Smooth Jazz Christmas tour.
“I grew up in a household that celebrated Chanukah, but you can’t escape Christmas music during the holidays,” Koz explains. “I think as a saxophonist, I gravitate to those melodies that I can really sink my chops into. They never go out of style, because they’re great.”
Ironically, Koz’s favorite Christmas song is “White Christmas,” made popular by Bing Crosby and written by Irving Berlin, a Jewish composer.
“That’s definitely one audiences will hear. I just fell in love with it years ago. It’s so ‘Christmasy’ and all the emotions of the holiday are tied up in those notes,” the multiple Grammy-nominee says. “It’s such a great irony that a lot of the most famous songs of the holiday season were written by Jewish people.”
He also emphasizes that his musical celebration is about the “feelings of the season” and not so much a religious experience: “We remember who we are and put our best foot forward. That’s why I like to tour this time of year, everyone’s hearts are wide open, more so than other times of the year.”
Audiences at the Broward Center can expect the plenty of holiday standards, but should expect some surprises, as well. In addition to Koz, they will be treated to performances by South African jazz musician Jonathan Butler, keyboardist Brian Culbertson, and Dutch alto saxophonist Candy Dulfer. In fact, this tour marks the first time Koz has invited another saxophonist to perform on his holiday tour. He promises a high-energy, family-oriented performance that will please longtime fans and new ones alike.
Koz says audience will also get a taste of his latest album, “Hello Tomorrow,” which was just released in October and holds a commanding position on the Billboard charts. The album, his first in seven years since coming out and nearly 20 years from his debut, stretched Koz creatively and became an expressive outlet after the loss of his mother. But, he says, make no mistakes, the album channels new sounds and energy.
Following his South Florida performance, Koz takes the tour around the country and then he resumes a demanding international performance schedule. Ultimately, Koz is reminded of some advice he received years ago.
He concludes, “It gets a little crazy, but I love it, I thrive on it. The people who come to see us are what keep us going. Somebody said to me a long time ago, the show you do for free, but you’re paid for the other 23 hours of the day. The shows make it all worthwhile.”
Dave Koz and Friends: A Smooth Jazz Christmas 2010
Au-Rene Theater, Broward Center for the Performing Arts
Monday, Nov. 29 at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets $35-65 at BrowardCenter.org or 954-462-0222