VOICES Notes and news on Contemporary Jazz releases
23 JUL 13 JONATHAN WIDRAN
This Spring, just after finishing the recording of Summer Horns with his friends and fellow urban jazz sax stars Mindi Abair, Gerald Albright and Richard Elliot, Dave Koz went on a spirited “Eat Pray Love” styled month-long sabbatical to India. One of the highlights was jamming with an authentic Indian ensemble in Rishikesh, famous for being the place The Beatles visited.
Perhaps less exotic but no less energizing, Koz and Friends’ collective session -- helmed by two-time Grammy-winning producer Paul Brown -- takes the veteran saxophonist and his cohorts back to the love of horn bands he developed growing up in the '70s after buying his first album, Tower of Power’s Back To Oakland. Fueled by dynamic arrangements by former Tower of Power arranger Greg Adams, sax great Tom Scott and Grammy-winner Gordon Goodwin, the four put contemporary twists on brass-fired classics by Sly & The Family Stone (“Hot Fun in the Summertime”), Chicago (“25 Or 6 To 4”), Earth, Wind & Fire (“Reasons,” EWF’s arrangement of The Beatles’ “Got To Get You Into My Life”), James Brown “I Feel Good (I Got You)” and TOP (“So Very Hard To Go,” featuring Michael McDonald).
There are also versions of Herb Alpert’s instrumental hit “Rise” and a four sax and standup bass twist on Dave Brubeck’s iconic “Take Five.” Summer Horns also includes guest appearances by trumpeter/flugelhornist Rick Braun, trombonist Brian Culbertson, Jeffrey Osborne and Jonathan Butler. Summing up the spirit of the project, Koz said: “All of these groups were seminal bands from our childhood and the soundtrack of our lives.”