Dave Koz – Hello Tomorrow

Oct. 2, 2010

O.k., o.k., so, he may be noted for long lapses between original smooth jazz releases, but can super saxman Dave Koz make it worth your wait or what? One listen to his latest, due on the streets on Oct. 12, and the answer is one resounding YES.  Here with Hello Tomorrow, he comes at you with all the energy and electricity to which you have always been accustomed whether seeing this dynamo in concert or hearing his efforts from the studio, and he doesn’t disappoint here one bit.

The project’s title points to so much about new beginnings. Obviously a new record, but also a new label signing (Concord), new producers (GRAMMY winners bassist Marcus Miller and John Burk), new-or at least, first-time-collaborations (Keb’ Mo and fellow sax giant Boney James), and a new role as vocalist (on the classic Herb Alpert hit penned by Burt Bacharach and Hal David “This Guy’s In Love With You”).

All manner of fun is offered up here, from infectious tracks like the funky opener, “Put The Top Down,” featuring the licks of Lee Ritenour, the percussions of Sheila E, the funk of Miller’s bass, the tell-tale edge of Brian Culbertson’s keys, and, of course, the storytelling of the Koz sax to such a great variety of melodies and hooks from a such an impressive collection of top-shelf contributors including Jonathan Butler (check out the harmony-rich, reggae-tinged “Getaway”) and Herb Alpert on his own classic hit and Koz’s vocal debut.  

So many tracks stand out as easily qualifying as my favs. Two great cases in point are ”There’s A Better Way” and “Start All Over Again,” both of which were definitely enhanced by the headiness and heaviness of the vocals; the former spoken/sung by Keb’ Mo;  the latter sung by Dana Glover. Both are quite stirring, and Koz’s sax is the pulse and the amen behind both.  Another fav of mine would be the track “Think Big,” an up-tempo catchy number with a kinda N’Orleans bluesy hook, which employs the use of the washboard as an instrument by Lenny Castro. Love it.

The “supporting cast” on this project gives a new meaning to the song title “With a Little Help From My Friends.”  We’re talking, in addition to those already mentioned but not limited to, Greg Phillinganes, Ray Parker, Jr., Paul Jackson, Jr., Lenny Castro, Christian Scott, David Delhomme, Omar Hakim, Harvey Mason Jr., and Jeff Lorber.
All said, the wait is over, the Koz is back again with something new just for you smooth jazzers who were just about to pout and wonder.   Never one to disappoint, the saxman delivers yet another gift of love.  Trust me, you’ll definitely enjoy. – Ronald Jackson