Share This Page

Summer Horns tour puts smooth jazz back in summer

| Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
From left, Mindi Abair, Dave Koz, Gerald Albright and Richard Elliot are leading the Summer Horns tour. APA Agency

Dave Koz is well aware he and his three saxophone cohorts were going far out on a limb with their “Summer Horns” tour.

“Can you imagine putting a tour together and arranging for an album without ever having worked together?” he says. “But, as soon as we got together, it was obvious it was going to work.”

The result is a summer-long tour of a band featuring four smooth-jazz sax stars: Koz, Mindi Abair, Richard Elliot and Gerald Albright. It will appear here July 12 at the Sewall Center of Robert Morris University in Moon.

“It has the feeling of a summer tour,” he says. “The songs are familiar, happy, fun, nostalgic.”

The band explores new material as well as redone arrangements of such hits as Sly and the Family Stone's “Hot Fun in the Summertime,” the Beatles' “Got to Get You Into My Life” and Chicago's “25 or 6 to 4.”

It is a tour that has been swinging through festivals and performing-arts centers, often playing in an outside setting that fits the picnic-like fun of this music.

“We've been on the road three weeks now and have a little break,” he says. “I just can't wait to get back to it.”

But he enjoys other work as well. He recently did what he says is a nearly annual gig in a small club in London called the Pizza Express.

“It seats about 105 people and is jammed,” he says. “It is just great.”

Koz, 50, grew up in California and got a communications degree from UCLA. He started making a name for himself as a musician, though, in the band of singer-composer Bobby Caldwell, who started to put Koz's solos in a featured role.

“I didn't plan on playing sax as a career, and, all of a sudden, he had me up there at the front of the stage,” he says.

His style of playing and the music he presents are shaped by what he listened to in his teen years, he says: the horn-oriented bands of Chicago, Earth, Wind and Fire, and Blood, Sweat and Tears.

After Caldwell, he joined Jeff Lorber, a smooth-jazz star who once had Kenny G as a sideman.

He moved into a solo career in 1990 and also has done radio and TV shows, founded a recording company and leads jazz cruises.

He says he is thankful — and a little surprised — to have put together a career in music.

“It's been 23 years of a very satisfying life,” he says of his solo stretch. “If something happened tomorrow that I would have to quit, I couldn't be anything but grateful.”

Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at bkarlovits@tribweb.com or 412-320-7852.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.