After years of touring and concerts this ever popular saxman releases a live version of his recent concert in Tokyo, Japan. Recorded at the Blue Note, this one captures the magic of his live shows while taking us on a journey of some of his older music as well as the new.
The introduction is one of his newer ones as he warms up the crowd with “What You Leave Behind” from Hello Tomorrowthen launching into the always favorite “Together Again.” I always enjoy what he brings to the stage with this one, and the amount of fun that emits from his soprano. The band walks with Koz to the front of the stage at the bridge before launching into the infectious chorus. After some nice works on drums from Jay Williams, Dave sets out some mean vibes on his sax. He talks to the audience telling them about his latest album and then features guitarist Randy Jacobs on “Leave The Top Down.” The two of them lay down a formidable track that has the audience wanting more. He goes back a few years for “Let It Free” on soprano once again before bringing out another new one “Anything’s Possible.” Music director and long time keyboardist, Brian Simpson, is featured here as he tickles the ivories to add to Koz’s tenor. There is a more laid back approach to “Love Is On The Way” from The Dance. This Botti/Koz penned tune comes across much cleaner with the “strings” sounds from Simpson’s keys. It gives Koz plenty of room to run on sax and show off his abilities.
He dedicates “It’s Always Been You” to the people of Japan and what they had been through in the past year. Emotion pours from his sax as his notes soar. Koz always has had a way of doing that, and it really comes out in his live performances. Simpson helps bring it home before they crank it up again for the always fun one from Saxophonic,“All I See Is You.” It gives Jacobs a chance to get back into the mix again and shows off the bass thumping of Andre Berry. Koz always has fun with his band, and this one showcases the members really well. It ends on a high note, and launches “Honey Dipped” from the same album. He reaches back into the archives for a signature hit “Faces In The Heart” which was heard on television for years. Simpson adds a lot to the mix here while Dave’s horn soars. They add some fun and fun on “Silverlining”. This is always fun live as Koz is all over the place both on the stage and on the horn. After introducing the band, he finishes the set with his always popular “You Make Me Smile.”
It’s really good to hear these live again as you feel the excitement and intensity that Dave Koz brings to the stage. After it’s over, you’re always smiling and wanting more. Of course there were so many more songs that could have been added to the mix here. The large catalog always makes it tough to decide which favorites are to be played nightly. Time passes way too quickly, so it’s a good thing we can put this one back in the player and relive it all over again!