Smooth Summer Jazz: Dave Koz & Friends
Sunday, August 23, 2015
Featuring: Rick Braun, Kenny Lattimore and Maysa
Special guests: Harvey Mason: Chameleon, Macy Gray, Larry Graham and Graham Central Station
Songs performed: Stoned, Brass in Pocket, Do Something, I Try (Macy Gray); One in a Million, I Want to Take You Higher, Dance to the Music, Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin), 1999, Square Biz (Larry Graham and Graham Central Station); Good Foot, (You’re Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher, Let It Go, When Will I Know for Sure, Think Big, Ooh Baby Baby (Dave Koz & Friends)
Comments: Dave Koz once again headlined the Hollywood Bowl’s annual Smooth Summer Jazz concert this summer. And he brought along some of his famous friends: Rick Braun (trumpet and vocals), Kenny Lattimore (vocals) and Maysa (vocals). He is celebrating 25 years in the biz, with the release of his latest collection: Collaborations (25th Anniversary Collection).
I first saw Dave 6 years ago on the same date, also at the Bowl. The thing about smooth jazz artists such as Dave, is that their albums are only a tip of the iceberg for their talent. A lot of jazz albums are on the mellow side, but the concerts I have been to — have been anything but. That was true of this show too.
Dave along with the featured performers (Rick, Kenny and Maysa) all came out at the beginning of the show in similar white outfits. The 2 horn players used the walkway near the front of the Bowl for some of their solos.
Dave brought out one of his jazz mentors, Jeff Lorber, who gave him his first big break. Jeff played keyboards, while Dave played sax on the new song “Good Foot.” During the Smokey Robinson & the Miracles cover song “Ooh Baby Baby” — Dave, Kenny and Rick acted like they were in a doo wop group together. Each guy took a lead on vocals. Jonathon Butler was in the audience and Dave got him to sing a few bars too.
The opening acts were well-picked and added to the overall enjoyment of the evening. First up was Harvey Mason: Chameleon. He is a reknown jazz drummer who has had a long and varied career. He led a band of international musicians who played songs from his new album and other songs from his career. During one portion of the set, the keyboardist pushed some buttons on a keypad and made some strange noises as the drummer complemented the sounds.
Next up was Macy Gray. I had seen her before as an opening act for Earth, Wind & Fire. She is definitely an original — with her unique vocals and loud stage wardrobe. I especially liked the song “Do Something” as well as her cover of the Pretenders’ “Brass in Pocket.” She brought out Bobby Brown for one of her new songs, and he did a respectable job. Her set ended abruptly as it seemed like she had gone over her allotted amount of time.
The stage rotated once again, this time for Larry Graham and Graham Central Station. I had seen them before opening for Prince at the Bowl. He and his band put on a high-energy performance that had the crowd dancing in the aisles. He performed his big solo ballad “One in a Million” as well as songs from Sly & the Family Stone (in which he was a member of). During one part of his set, he asked all of his band members who inspired them. They would say a name: James Brown, Prince, Carlos Santana, Teena Marie and more. The band would then play one of the biggest hits from that artist. Larry definitely got the crowd warmed up for the main attraction.
Thanks to Dave and his friends for another fun night at the magical Hollywood Bowl.
KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.