Memories Of A Winter’s Night features the Koz-penned title track plus 12 holiday standards. Highlights include two brand new duets: first single “White Christmas” with Kelly Sweet, who scored a Top Ten hit at both Adult Contemporary and Smooth Jazz radio with “Raincoat” the first single from her debut album and “Please Come Home For Christmas” with Christmas tour mate Kimberley Locke, who has topped the AC charts for the past two holiday seasons with singles “Up on the Housetop” and “Jingle Bells.”
From trends visible in the 2000s, smooth jazz fans couldn’t get enough of three things: all-star cruises, all-star summer tours, and big holiday tour extravaganzas. In 2006, the only year since 1997 that genre superstar Dave Koz didn’t traverse the country for Christmas, there were three other tours out there. As if to say, “I’m back, now deck those halls,” he celebrated the “Dave Koz and Friends” Smooth Jazz Christmas tenth anniversary in 2007 with not only another great touring show but his third Christmas CD in ten years. For fans who missed 1997’s underrated December Makes Me Feel This Way and 2001’s Smooth Jazz Christmas, Memories of a Winter’s Night is a good way to catch up with the best of those discs and hang out by the fire with some exciting new tracks (seven in all). There are three songs from December, two from Smooth Jazz Christmas (including the high-spirited, big-band flavored Brenda Russell led jam “Boogie Woogie Santa Claus”), and a nice mix of classics Koz hadn’t previously tackled, from “Deck the Halls” to a jamming blues version of “Winter Wonderland.” The real highlights, however, are the new tracks by young vocalists Kelly Sweet (an ethereal voiced singer who toured with Koz in 2007), who creates a lovely chill take on “White Christmas,” and former American Idol finalist Kimberley Locke, who rocks steady on “Please Come Home for Christmas.” Koz pays homage to his own tradition with the beautiful, lyrical Hanukkah-inspired title track.