Dave Koz’s NEW ALBUM, Gifts Of The Season, SET FOR RELEASE ON OCTOBER 11
Album Features Jonathan Butler, Melissa Manchester, Michael Lington, Chris Walker And Matt Cusson
DAVE KOZ AND FRIENDS CHRISTMAS TOUR 2019 KICKS OFF NOVEMBER 29
Jonathan Butler * Melissa Manchester * Michael Lington with Special Guest Chris Walker
Twenty-two years after releasing his first Christmas-themed set, GRAMMY®-nominated saxophonist Dave Koz takes a very different stylistic approach on his new holiday album, Gifts of the Season. The 11-track collection will be released on Friday, October 11, via Just Koz Entertainment, Inc. Produced by Darren Rahn (Wayman Tisdale, Toby Keith, Bob James), the album brings a buoyant, soul/funk/pop feel to Christmas classics across different eras, and sheds new light on their rich musicality and lyrical depth. Closing out the set is “A Prayer for Peace,” a new song penned by Koz.
Gifts of the Season is the ideal companion piece for the 22nd Annual Dave Koz & Friends Christmas Tour – a whirlwind of 22 shows in 25 days – with Jonathan Butler, Melissa Manchester, Michael Lington and special guest Chris Walker. All four of Koz’s tour mates appear on the new album. Butler and Lington are also releasing Christmas albums this fall so – in a first for the tour – the shows will feature material from three brand new holiday albums. The run kicks off on November 29 at the Van Wezel in Sarasota, FL and includes shows at Tilles Center for the Performing Arts in Brookville, NY (December 8), the Plaza Theatre in El Paso, TX (December 16) and Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in Southern California (December 20 and 21). Tickets are available at www.davekoz.com. See below for itinerary.
“One of the reasons I continue to record this music and tour every year is that the holidays are a reminder for all of us about the things that matter. It’s a time when we seem more capable of living our best lives,” says Dave Koz. “It’s easy to get off course during the rest of the year, especially the way the world is these days with all of its antagonism and intolerance. The holidays help bring us back to center. That’s what ‘A Prayer for Peace’ is also – a way to express that music is perhaps our one last vestige of uniting people who may be at odds in other areas of life.”
To bring an added warmth to the songs, Koz and Rahn recorded the basic tracks in the producer/musician’s Denver studio, then visited the guest artists to record them in their home studios. “We wanted to capture them at their most intimate, powerful best,” explains Koz.
Approaching Mariah Carey’s “All I Want Is You” as a soulful ballad, GRAMMY winner Melissa Manchester changes the entire emotional trajectory of the song. Koz notes, “It’s one of the most played holiday songs on the radio, but because it’s so up-tempo, it’s easy to overlook that it’s got a lot of meat on its bones. Melissa’s version makes you stop and pay attention.” Likewise, pairing the intensity of Michael Lington’s alto saxophone with Koz’s tenor fuels an explosive funk/soul romp through “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.”
Jonathan Butler brings his gritty, soul-gospel energy to classics from two different eras: a groovin’, African chant-spiced version of the nearly 70-year-old “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas” and a swinging, festive bounce through Donny Hathaway’s 70’s smash, “This Christmas,” which features Koz on soprano sax and Rahn on Wurlitzer and Hammond organ. Singer, bassist and former Al Jarreau musical director Chris Walker also knocks it out of the park, delivering the perfect blend of solemnity and classic soul power on a sparsely-produced rendition of “Mary Did You Know.”
Another vocalist Koz is excited to showcase on Gifts of the Season is Matt Cusson, whose Take-6-like vocal textures combine with Koz’s cool tenor to bring renewed poignancy to “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” Koz and Rahn’s dance-jam spin on Wham’s mid-80’s smash, “Last Christmas,” makes it one of the album’s most compelling instrumental tracks. “Never in a million years did I think it would make a great vehicle for the sax,” Koz says, “but it was such a blast to play, so funky and danceable.” See below for the album’s full track listing.
“The title Gifts of the Season is personal to me on many levels,” he adds. “It’s not about the presents under the tree, but the gift of showing love and appreciation. As I approach the 30th anniversary of the release of my debut album, nobody is more surprised than I am by the career I have had and all the ongoing support from my fans. I have been blessed with so many gifts and, in turn, I am honored to have the opportunity to share the gift of music with people around the world.”
About Dave Koz and Friends:
Saxophonist extraordinaire Dave Koz has racked up an astoundingly impressive array of honors and achievements: nine GRAMMY® nominations, 11 No. 1 albums on Billboard’s Current Contemporary Jazz Albums chart, numerous world tours, 13 sold-out Dave Koz & Friends At Sea cruises, performances for multiple U.S. presidents, a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and more. A Platinum-selling artist, Koz is also known as a humanitarian, entrepreneur, radio host and instrumental music advocate.
The youngest of 13 children, Jonathan Butler grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, ruled by Apartheid and segregation. Butler began his singing career at age 7. He released his first album in 1973 and won the Best New Artist GRAMMY in South Africa the following year at age 12. More than a decade later, Butler moved to London, England after signing with Jive Records and released his first album internationally. The self-titled set went Gold in 1987 in the United Kingdom and in the U.S. He received GRAMMY nominations for Best R&B Song for his R&B-pop vocal hit “Lies” and for Best Jazz Song for the instrumental “Going Home.” His new album, Christmas Together, is due out October 4.
Following her stint as a founding member of Bette Midler’s Harlettes, Manchester established herself as a solo artist with Top 10 hits like “Midnight Blue,” the GRAMMY-nominated “Don’t Cry Out Loud” and the GRAMMY-winning “You Should Hear How She Talks About You.” Her songs have been heard in motion pictures, netting her two Oscar nominations, and recorded by such artists as Barbra Streisand, Dusty Springfield, Alison Krauss and Roberta Flack. On her latest album, The Fellas, she pays tribute to iconic male artists such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, Johnny Mathis and Tony Bennett.
Although he grew up in Copenhagen, Michael Lington was massively influenced by the soul music that emanated from Memphis, TN. At age 20, he made the fateful decision to move to the U.S. and is now regarded as one of the world’s top contemporary soul and jazz saxophonists. In his remarkable career, he has charted more than 20 hit singles and performed at some of the world’s most prestigious venues. He recently recorded his first Christmas album, A Foreign Affair Christmas, which features numerous special guests, including Vince Gill and Dave Koz.
Born and raised in Houston TX, Chris Walker began singing before he began speaking. He got his start in church, performing as a member of his family gospel group, The Walker Brothers. He has played with such jazz greats as Ornette Coleman, Art Blakey, Bob James, Jimmy Heath, Cassandra Wilson and others. He served as musical director for Regina Belle and also for seven-time GRAMMY Award winner Al Jarreau. Walker’s latest album, We’re In This Love Together Celebrating Al Jarreau, is out now. It features many smooth jazz greats, including Dave Koz.
Track Listing – Gifts Of The Season
- It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas featuring Jonathan Butler
- O Come All Ye Faithful
- White Christmas
- Last Christmas
- Mary Did You Know featuring Chris Walker
- I’ll Be Home For Christmas featuring Matt Cusson
- Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer featuring Michael Lington
- This Christmas featuring Jonathan Butler
- All I Want For Christmas featuring Melissa Manchester
- Winter Wonderland
- A Prayer For Peace
DAVE KOZ AND FRIENDS CHRISTMAS TOUR 2019
Jonathan Butler * Melissa Manchester * Michael Lington with special guest Chris Walker
11/29 – Sarasota, FL @ Van Wezel
11/30 – West Palm Beach, FL @ Kravis Center
12/1 – Naples, FL @ Hayes Hall
12/2 – Melbourne, FL @ King Center
12/3 – Clearwater, FL @ Ruth Eckerd Hall
12/5 – Jacksonville, FL @ Florida Theatre
12/6 – Atlanta, GA @ Cobb Centre
12/7 – Newport News, VA @ Ferguson Centre
12/8 – Brookville, NY @ Tilles Center for the Performing Arts
12/9 – Bethesda, MD @ Strathmore
12/11 – Columbus, OH @ Palace Theatre
12/12 – Cleveland, OH @ KeyBank State Theatre
12/13 – Chicago, IL @ Chicago Theatre
12/15 – Carmel, IN @ Palladium
12/16 – El Paso, TX @ Plaza Theatre
12/17 – Mesa, AZ @ Ikeda Theatre
12/18 – Palm Springs, CA @ McCallum
12/19 – El Cajon, CA @ The Magnolia
12/20 – Cerritos, CA @ Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts
12/21 – Cerritos, CA @ Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts
12/22 – Stockton, CA @ Bob Hope Theatre
12/23 – San Jose, CA @ City National Civic
Dates subject to change.