For Dave Koz, his relationship with the saxophone was love at first touch.
“I was 13 years old and in seventh grade,” Koz says. “All I wanted was to be a musician. The saxophone was placed in my hands at a very important time. It would later become my life’s work, just by blowing into a piece of metal--I know I’m more surprised than anyone else.”
After graduating from college, he gave himself six months to focus on music. It wasn’t long after that he found himself auditioning for a band while running into singer, Bobby Caldwell. To Koz, this person saw something in him. A few months later, Koz had his first record deal with Capitol Records. Clearly, Caldwell wasn’t the only one to spot talent.
For the renowned saxophonist, music is like comfort food. It’s the reason why the classic holiday songs are sung every year. And with his 21st annual Christmas tour a couple weeks away, he might just be the gift that keeps on giving.
“We’ve seen parents bring their kids and those kids are bringing kids of their own,” Koz says. “That’s what happens when you do something for so long.”
The first Christmas tour occurred after the passing of Koz’s father.
“This all started as a way to cope,” Koz says. “I wanted to channel some of that emotion into a way that would allow others to cope as well. Music has this ability to heal in ways that words often can’t.”
The Dave Koz Christmas Tour 2018 will take him across the country before eventually ending in Sydney, Australia. His first stop is a favorite: Sarasota.
“It’s a great place to start,” Koz says. “The Van Wezel is very intimate and warm.”
This time around, Koz teases at certain components of the concert that will stand out from previous ones. The performance will have more woman singers on stage than ever before, while a promised Aretha Franklin tribute will pay homage to the late singer. There is also a philanthropic component: a hundred Dave Koz- designed hospital gowns will be donated to hospitals in all of the tour locations. However, Koz promises that the same music and holiday cheer that fans come out for will still be there.
“The whole idea of family, home and warmth is what we shoot for,” Koz says. “When the holidays roll around, a natural thing for people is to want to be taken away with music. They are very big, emotional markers for all of us.”
The Dave Koz Christmas Tour 2018 concert takes place at 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 23, at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Tickets are available online.