Excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com.

Even though Dave Koz's new Capitol Records album, "Saxophonic," is his first release since 1999's "The Dance" (excluding his 2001 Christmas disc), the top-selling smooth jazz saxophonist/songwriter says that he hasn't been kicking back and slacking off.

"I've been busy," Koz says. "I usually take a couple of years to make an album, then spend a few more touring it. I don't slap records together. I put a lot of care into them."

He hastens to add that "Saxophonic," which streeted Oct. 7, is a special project because it is saxophone-driven. "I wanted to take my time and let myself go in the writing and preproduction stages. Unlike my other albums, which were influenced by songs or singers, this time I wanted to listen to the horn and let the instrument lead me where it wanted to go."

With his A-team of creative co-producers, including Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers in New York and mentor Jeff Lorber and brother Jeff Koz in his Los Angeles home base, Koz set out to explore a range of moods, from funky grooves to electronica-infused hip-hop to balladic jazz.

"I got together with co-writers and went in directions I never would have in the past," he says, noting that he plunged into the process and avoided a lot of self-editing while working with such collaborators as Brian McKnight, Bobby Caldwell and Marc Antoine. "That's why the album has a lot of textures I normally wouldn't have thought of on my own."

Koz wrote more than 30 songs for the project, then whittled the number to 13. "I listened to the tunes, then shaped and sequenced them," he says. "I ended up coming up with three musical acts that each represent different moods in a relationship-discovery, adventure and life beyond the honeymoon."

Act One opens with the funky, lyrical tune "Honey-Dipped," also the album's first single. It was co-written by Lorber, who enlisted Koz in 1985 to be a member of his band.

"If our lives never intersected, I don't know what I'd be doing today," Koz says. "At the time, I never thought about playing the saxophone for a living. Jeff and I have known each other for so long that





Excerpted from the Oct. 18, 2003, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Billboard.com Premium Services section.

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