Saxophonist and radio host Dave Koz has been one of the leading figures in smooth jazz for the last 20 years, expertly merging tasteful solos with contemporary touches such as electronic percussion and synthesizers, pop song structures and dance-ready funk and R&B rhythms.
Koz kicked around the session musician scene in the late 1980s after graduating with a mass communications degree from UCLA. In the early part of his career he was heard backing the like-minded ensemble the Rippingtons as well as pop radio favorite Richard Marx before Koz released his self-titled debut in 1990, which landed on the Billboard charts for several weeks. After his slick second album, “Lucky Man,” earned further success, Koz began hosting the “Dave Koz Radio Show” in 1994, a syndicated interview and music program that aired on smooth jazz radio stations across the country. Years later he also hosted the “Dave Koz Morning Show” on 94.7 FM in Los Angeles, one of the flagship stations of the “quiet storm, soft and warm” format. A year before leaving the show in 2007, Koz took on a second nationally syndicated radio program with the Smooth Jazz Network, which he maintains today.
Koz has earned six Grammy nominations, including two for the 2003 album “Saxophonic,” which featured contributions from longtime collaborator Jeff Lorber, trumpeter Chris Botti and R&B vocalist Brian McKnight. The record produced four top-five singles on the contemporary jazz charts, nearly equaling the total of five that Koz earned from his 1999 album, “The Dance.” Koz is also a favorite for his holiday-themed albums, first with “Winter Makes Me Feel This Way” in 1997 and later with “A Smooth Jazz Christmas” in 2001.
The saxophonist continues to be a force on contemporary jazz charts, hitting No. 1 with both the 2007 standards collection “At the Movies” in 2007 and his first greatest hits compilation in 2008. With his continued work over the airwaves as well as his annual “Dave Koz & Friends” concert-cruise with a variety of top smooth jazz artists, Koz remains not only one of the most popular musicians from the genre, but also one of its strongest advocates.