INDIANAPOLIS—Yamaha Artist Services Indianapolis celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the company's relationship with six-time GRAMMY nominee, record company owner, radio talk show host and sensational saxophonist, Dave Koz. Koz plays the YAS-62IIS.
"Having an artist of Dave's caliber on our roster for two decades affirms not only the quality of our instruments, but the strength of our relationship," said John Wittmann, Director, Artist Relations, Yamaha Artist Services Indianapolis. "He is truly a formidable force in the music industry and an inspiration to us at Yamaha, as well as to aspiring musicians everywhere."
Born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, Koz got his start as a youngster longing to join his older brother's band. He learned to play the saxophone, auditioned for the part and was embraced as a full-time band member shortly thereafter. He has been an avid player and saxophone enthusiast ever since. Koz earned a degree in mass communications from UCLA, but immediately decided to leap into a career as a professional musician.
His phenomenal talent led to his first musical tour with vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Bobby Caldwell's band. While he was playing with Caldwell, he met keyboardist Jeff Lorber, who invited Koz to join him on a tour. He gained even more popularity after touring with Lorber and caught the attention of pop singer Richard Marx, with whom he toured for 14 months. Other top musicians that have enlisted Koz's unique skills include Burt Bacharach, Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Celine Dion, Kenny Loggins, U2, Stevie Wonder, Luther Vandross and Vanessa Williams.
The saxophone had become Koz's "best friend [and] most trusted ally…it enabled me to communicate feelings that I didn't have the words for," he says. In the early 1990s, he decided that pursuing a solo career would help him communicate those emotions to the world and he signed with Capitol Records and recorded several noteworthy albums, including the GRAMMY nominated Saxophonic. Koz remained with Capitol Record for 20 years, but in 2002 went on to launch his record label, Rendezvous Entertainment.
His latest album, Hello Tomorrow, which debuted at No. 1 on both Billboard's Top Contemporary Jazz Albums chart and iTunes' Jazz Album chart, was named the Best Smooth Jazz Album of 2010 by iTunes. Produced by Grammy winners John Burk and Marcus Miller, the album features a diverse army of high-profile guests: Herb Alpert, Jonathan Butler, Brian Culbertson, Sheila E., Boney James, Jeff Lorber, Keb' Mo', Ray Parker, Jr., Lee Ritenour, Christian Scott and others. An accomplished composer, Mr. Koz wrote most of the 13 tracks himself.
Koz has offered invaluable input to Yamaha, and has been called upon to test instruments at the Yamaha Los Angeles Atelier for consistency. After playing 23 seemingly identical YAS-62IIS saxophones several times each, Mr. Koz noted the exceptional quality of every single instrument, but identified 15 of the 23 as being uniquely remarkable and professional-gig-ready. Each Dave Koz Artist Selected instrument has a special oval badge just above the serial number and is currently for sale along with a signed authenticity card.
Beyond playing the saxophone, Koz serves as a radio personality. On weekdays, he hosts a national radio show on the Smooth Jazz Radio Network. On weekends, he hosts the internationally syndicated Dave Koz Radio Show, now in its 15th year in approximately 120 markets. He is also the global ambassador for Starlight Foundation, an organization dedicated to brightening the lives of sick kids and their families. Mr. Koz also works as an instrumental music advocate, serving on the board of directors for the GRAMMY Foundation, where he works to preserve America's cultural legacy and bring music to children in the classrooms.
Mr. Koz also recently partnered with Vinum Cellars, a Napa Valley boutique winery, and Whole Foods Market to introduce three types of KOZ wines. He is donating all his proceeds from KOZ wines - available exclusively at Whole Foods Market stores in Southern California, Arizona and Nevada - to help Starlight continue its vital mission.
For more information, visit Yamaha at Winter NAMM 2012 at the Anaheim Marriott Marquis Ballroom, write Yamaha Corporation of America, P.O. Box 6600, Buena Park, CA 90622; telephone (714) 522-9011; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit www.yamaha.com/press.