In the quarter-century since releasing his first album, out Jewish saxophonist has been nominated for nine Grammys, gotten a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and collaborated with a ton of well-known artists ( including Stevie Wonder, India.Arie and Toby Keith ). Koz recently talked with Windy City Times about his upcoming CD, Collaborations 25th Anniversary Collection ( out July 31 ), as well as a July 25 show at Horseshoe Casino and the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality.
Windy City Times: Nice talking with you again, Dave. I told someone you’re one of the longer relationships in my life.
Dave Koz: Well, that’s very nice of you to say. I appreciate that. You’re probably one of the longer relationships I’ve had in my life, too. We have to stop meeting like this. Are you going to be able to come to my show [at Horseshoe Casino]?
WCT: Unfortunately, I won’t be able to. You usually perform in Chicago on your tours. It’s interesting that there isn’t one here this time.
DK: It depends on the promoter and the venue. Last year, we played in Ravinia, which was great. This year, it was the casino that wanted us. The one we’re consistently at is The Chicago Theatre at Christmastime; we’ve played there 18 years.
I do love that area. Chicago’s been a place where we’ve played for so many years. We are out celebrating 25 years—it’s hard for me to imagine. If you would’ve told me 25 years ago that I’d still be out and about playing, I wouldn’t have been the first to believe you. As we all know, the music world is very fickle.
I love doing what I do, and I love collaborating. My new CD highlights those amazing artists I’ve had a chance to learn from. I looked back over the years and wondered what the consistent thread has been through all of this work—and that was the key. The key to success, for me, is not being afraid to go into uncharted territory. I’ve made the best music when I’m with people who are the biggest head-scratchers. I love to stretch myself, and to be challenged and inspired.
If left to my own devices, it’d be the same song and the same melody over and over. [Laughs]