Sharing a glass of wine and the smooth, soulful, sultry sounds of jazz with friends and family is one of the beautiful pleasures in life, and saxophonist extraordinaire Dave Koz is able to deliver both the music and the libation.
Dave, who was once the band leader on The Emeril Lagasse Show, has made music with some of the greatest luminaries in the world for more than 20 years, including Barry Manilow, Burt Bacharach, Celine Dion, Johnny Mathis, Kenny Loggins, Luther Vandross, Michael McDonald, Natalie Cole, Ray Charles, Rod Stewart, Vanessa Williams, and U2 that has earned him a much deserved star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Here is a great video with Dave performing “The Shadow of Your Smile” with Johnny Mathis” and “Moon River” with Barry Manilow. It’s pure magic.
In addition to being an incredible musician, Dave also has his own line of Koz wine, which is the primary reason I interviewed him for the July 2012 “Food & Wine” issue of Luxury Las Vegas magazine.
I love being creative and celebrating the best there is in life. A bottle of wine is just a bottle of wine until you open it and share it with others. Then it becomes a concert hall or an arena or a jazz club. We live in such a fast-pace society that we forget to stop and appreciate where we’ve at. Wine by its very nature encourages us to savor life. There are thousands of different wines and each one of them has a different point of view just like a song.”
– Dave Koz
Dave told me that when a friend of his suggested he start his own wine label he was reluctant to because he knew nothing about wine other than to drink it, but he was willing to do it if the proceeds would benefit Dave’s favorite charity “The Starlight Children’s Foundation,” which helps seriously ill children and their families. Dave has served as the organization’s Global Ambassador for 15 years and he has partnered with Whole Foods stores in Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Nevada so that every time someone raises a glass of Koz wine from those stores they are helping families in need. That is an example of caring about something that is so much bigger than yourself.
LIFE LESSON: Imagine what we could accomplish if we didn’t limit ourselves by saying, “Oh I can’t do that,’ or “I’m not good at that,” or “That’s too hard.” Life becomes so much richer when we stretch those boundaries. I never thought I would ever sky dive, and though I would never do it again, it remains one of the highlights of my life, a reminder that I am stronger than my fears. Spiritual activist, author, lecturer, and founder of The Peace Alliance Marianne Williamson says that “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
Dave Koz is a loving, sensitive, warm, passionate, authentic, conscious-thinking man. From the moment we started talking, it felt easy and natural like we’d known each other forever. That’s how it is with some people. They show you right away who they are. He was open about everything, including being gay.
I have a short fuse for small-minded people who have an inability to see another person’s point of view. I say that as a gay man who wants to have the right to marry someone if I choose to. The fact that people are still able to espouse beliefs that are so blatantly unequal pisses me off. I did a music video in support of marriage equality called, “This Guy’s In Love With You,” which earned the director, Graham Streeter, the Grand Prize for Panasonic’s Shoot It, Share It online video contest.”
– Dave Koz
This is a beautiful video about diversity and freedom. It’s about people of all colors, races and sexual preferences loving each other. Just imagine if we were committed to creating an inclusive world filled with love. It’s that simple. A a world where loving our neighbor is more important than trying to control, dictate, judge, manipulate, suppress, stifle, and restrict others because of our own personal beliefs.
In many respects the world needs to change and yet people are so resistant to give up old beliefs that no longer make sense or that have been passed down from generation to generation without question.
When Dave left Capitol Records in 2010 after 20 years and went to a new record label I’m sure it was both scary and exciting.
The album “Hello Tomorrow” was reflective of a larger change for me personally. We’re in an era of dramatic and sweeping changes where everything we took for granted is suddenly up for grabs. There’s always apprehension that comes with big changes. The more people I talk to, the more I realize that millions of people have a similar story – the loss of a job in an economic downturn, the end of a marriage, the beginning of a new career, any circumstances that force them to take a step in a different direction or reinvent themselves in some way. They’re reaching a point where they see a life ahead of them that they never expected. It’s a new day full of new challenges and opportunities and we’d be wise to embrace it.”
– Dave Koz
Let’s all welcome tomorrow with compassion, love, gratitude, kindness, patience, forgiveness, and grace. I think Dave Koz is one of those human beings who exemplifies those things.
Take a few minutes and watch the videos I’ve posted. They both made my heart smile.
Enjoy my full interview with Dave Koz as it appeared in Luxury Las Vegas magazine.
Also check out Dave’s annual Dave Koz & Friends At Sea Cruise which is posted on his website. It would be incredible to go to Italy, Sicily and Greece with Dave and his friends next year. One of those memories you cherish for a lifetime.