Dave Koz, "Hello Tomorrow"
Saxophonist Dave Koz brings the funk on "Hello Tomorrow," certainly more so than the smooth jazz poster boy has on previous efforts since the 1990s. Some of that credit goes to Koz' new production team of Marcus Miller and John Burk, who surround him with stellar rhythm sections that kick some genuine booty. That production is heard on tracks like "Put the Top Down," with its searing guitar solos by Lee Ritenour; the brassy "When Will I Know for Sure" (featuring Boney James); "Remember Where You Come From" (featuring Jeff Lorber); and the New Orleans-flavored "Think Big," with Christian Scott and co-writer Brian Culbertson blowing alongside Koz and Keb' Mo' on guitar. Meanwhile, "There's a Better Way" is a textured, soulful tone poem with Mo' and Ray Parker Jr. on the six strings. But "Hello Tomorrow" isn't solely in the pocket. There's plenty of gentler, melodic fare, including "It's Always Been You," "Getaway" (with Jonathan Butler and Sheila E. on vocals), "The Journey" and "Whisper in Your Ear." And a rendition of Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "This Guy's in Love With You" is a summit between Koz and Herb Alpert, with the saxist stepping in on lead vocals just as Alpert did on the original.