Dave Koz and Friends Christmas Tour, a high-energy holiday tradition celebrating its 15th anniversary, will perform at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas tonight, Dec. 18. Tickets are available at The Smith Center box office, www.TheSmithCenter.com, or by calling 702-749-2000. Ticket prices start at $29.
Led by seven-time GRAMMY nominee and saxophonist extraordinaire Dave Koz, this year's run features special guests including GRAMMY-nominated pianist/composer David Benoit, who appeared in the original 1997 line-up and was instrumental in the tour's creation; Javier Colon, who sang on Koz's Saxophonic album and was the winner of the inaugural season of NBC's hit television show, "The Voice," and the inimitable drummer/percussionist/vocalist Sheila E. (Prince, Cyndi Lauper. Ringo Starr), who makes her debut in the Christmas lineup after appearances on previous Dave Koz & Friends summer tours, and introducing singer/songwriter Margo Rey.
Together the quintet will perform hits from their respective catalogues and jam on fresh, fun arrangements of seasonal favorites. As always, there will be surprises, but Koz hints that the production will take things to a new level and will include a special medley of "Peanuts" holiday music inspired by Benoit, who has paid tribute to Vince Guaraldi's timeless music with several "Peanuts" themed albums.
Dave's summer tour, featuring inspirational/R&B/gospel icon BeBe Winans as a special guest, elicited stellar reviews. The New York Times observed: "He's a musician of unflappable rhythmic aplomb, which he happily squares against the airtight funk of his band. And he's a frolicsome performer, given to hip swivels and bowlegged squats, along with a constant rotation of tenor, alto and soprano saxophones."
Hello Tomorrow (Concord Records), Koz's latest album, was nominated for a GRAMMY award for Best Pop Instrumental Album and was named the "Best Smooth Jazz Album of 2010" by iTunes and "Best Contemporary Jazz Album" at the 2011 Soul Train Awards. Produced by Marcus Miller and John Burk, Hello Tomorrow debuted at No. 1 on both Billboard's Top Contemporary Jazz Albums chart and iTunes' Jazz Album chart. Dave has released 12 albums in the past 20 years, including four Christmas collections.
"I think the Christmas season gives us all a chance to go back in time, it's so nostalgic--and music plays such a big role in bringing out that feeling," says Koz. "It never ceases to blow me away, how much people love holiday songs--as evidenced by our 15th anniversary of this tour! This year especially, we'll try to fit in as many favorites as possible and add our own unique touches along the way."