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In a career spanning nearly two decades, DAVE KOZ has established himself as a platinum-selling artist, humanitarian, entrepreneur, radio host, and instrumental music advocate. As the recipient of six Grammy nominations, Koz has played with a list of artists that bears testament to his talent and includes such musical luminaries as Burt Bacharach, Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Celine Dion, Kenny Loggins, U2, Michael McDonald, Luther Vandross, and Rod Stewart.
Born and raised in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley, Koz initially picked up the saxophone to gain entry into his big brother’s band. What began as a ploy became a lifelong obsession. Years later, after earning his degree in mass communications from UCLA, Koz decided to become a professional musician. Within weeks of that decision, he was recruited as a touring member of Bobby Caldwell’s band. It was during this time that Koz befriended keyboardist Jeff Lorber, who invited Koz to come play on one of his tours. That stint was followed by a 14-month tour with pop singer Richard Marx.
Signed to Capitol Records by Bruce Lundvall, Koz released his self-titled solo debut album in 1990. This was the first in a body of best-selling work, which includes the gold-certified Lucky Man (1993), Off the Beaten Path (1996), and the holiday-themed albums December Makes Me Feel This Way (1997) and Dave Koz & Friends — A Smooth Jazz Christmas (2001). His gold-certified fifth album, The Dance (1999), spawned no less than five Top 5 contemporary jazz hits. Saxophonic (2003) produced another four Top 5 singles and garnered Koz two Grammy nominations spanning two consecutive years.
In 2007, Koz released two chart-topping collections of standards. At the Movies, his lush, romantic celebration of timeless melodies from cinema, spent eight weeks atop Billboard’s Top Contemporary Jazz chart and was nominated for a Grammy in the “Best Pop Instrumental Album” category. Produced by the legendary Phil Ramone, and accompanied by a full orchestra, it features special guest performances by India.Arie, Anita Baker, Chris Botti, Barry Manilow, Johnny Mathis, Donna Summer, and Vanessa Williams. The album also includes several stunning instrumentals, including Koz’s moving rendition of “Over the Rainbow,” which received a Grammy nomination for “Best Pop Instrumental Performance.”
Memories of a Winter’s Night, released in September 2007, is a festive collection of 12 holiday standards celebrating the wonders of the season. The album, which hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Contemporary Jazz chart that December, includes Dave’s duets with Kelly Sweet, Kimberley Locke, and Brenda Russell and also features Rick Braun, Peter White, and David Benoit.
Fans were treated to Dave Koz at the Movies Double Feature CD + DVD in February 2008. It features Koz’s popular At the Movies CD with two never-before-released bonus audio tracks plus a new DVD capturing Dave and his guests making the album. A track-by-track commentary and exclusive artist interviews are also included on the DVD.
Dave serves as a radio personality in two different outlets: on weekdays, as the host of an afternoon radio show that airs in fifteen markets across the nation, including Chicago, Philadelphia, and San Francisco; and on weekends, as the host of the syndicated Dave Koz Radio Show, now in its 15th year, in approximately 120 markets.
As an entrepreneur, Koz is co-founder of the independent record label Rendezvous Entertainment. As a philanthropist, he serves as Global Ambassador for the Starlight Children’s Foundation, recently completed a four-year term on the Grammy Foundation Artists Committee, has served as National Trustee for the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS), and is an ongoing member of the Board of Governors for the Grammy Foundation.
Koz is constantly touring, summer and winter, on land and by sea, with a summer tour, holiday tour, and Dave Koz-branded cruise via the Holland America Cruise Line.
With a triumphant career as an artist and radio personality, his independent record company, and the well-earned respect of the recording industry, Dave Koz’s artistry, commitment, and influence continue to grow. For more information please visit davekoz.com.
You’ve heard of the Ohio Players. BRIAN CULBERTSON is the Chicago Player — a keyboardist, trombonist, writer, arranger, producer, and the most exciting live performing instrumentalist on the scene today. The proof is all over his milestone tenth project, Bringing Back the Funk (released April 2008), a historic and completely unprecedented revisiting to the land of the sho ’nuff, uncut ’70s-style funk of ages. The “historic” declaration is not hype — for the first time ever, legendary old-school funk masters from nearly every signature soul band and region of the country have united under Brian and executive producer Maurice White (founder of Earth Wind & Fire) to once again lay the righteous and real stuff on a deeply needy world. Dig this list:
Maceo Parker & Fred Wesley (from James Brown’s JB’s band), William “Bootsy” Collins and Phelps “Catfish” Collins, plus members of the Rubber Band and the Horny Horns (all out of Parliament-Funkadelic), Larry Graham (of Sly & The Family Stone and his own Graham Central Station), Larry Dunn and Sheldon Reynolds (of Earth Wind & Fire), Greg Adams (from Tower of Power), Tony Maiden and Bobby Watson (of Rufus), Michael Bland, Cora Dunham, and Rhonda Smith (from Prince’s bands), solo stars Ray Parker Jr., David T. Walker, Ronnie Laws, Gerald Albright, Tom Scott, Paul Jackson Jr., Perri, and many more L.A. session greats. Add neo-soul stars Ledisi and Musiq Soulchild, and the vibe becomes clear: Ain’t nothin’ but a party, baby bobba!
“I’ve wanted to record an album like this for many years,” Culbertson states with pride — “one where I could really cut loose.” Consisting of six slammin’ original compositions and four classic ’70s jams, Bringing Back the Funk turned what would have been a “mission: impossible” for others into a mission most righteously accomplished — with everyone recording together live in the studio…the way they used to get down! Upon completion of the project, Maurice White himself declared, “This record is gonna touch the souls of people because it’s musicians playing together and sharing a feeling.”
As is so colorfully revealed on the CD cover, Brian has been immersing himself in studies of The Funk from a very young age (that’s an ‘Earth-Wind’ LP he’s grooving to with headphones — for direct connection to the soul). So this record is a dream come true. And since one of Brian’s band members — singer/guitarist Sheldon Reynolds — is a latter day member of EWF, he was able to work with several of that group’s alumni, including Sonny Emory, Morris Pleasure, and the legendary piano and synthesizer master Larry Dunn — a major influence on Brian.
“I’ve lived five minutes from Larry for 10 years now but I never met him,” Brian shares. “Larry and Maurice had not worked together in years, so that first day in the studio was a reunion. Larry came to my studio and we wrote the song ‘The Groove.’ You can hear elements of both our writing styles in it. It was like an out of body experience for me... Actually, the whole making of this album was like that. Everybody in the studio was a legend, and fans of each other! And what’s really cool is that we’ve all become really good friends.”
Inspired by his father, music educator Jim Culbertson, Brian Culbertson has been a fast and fierce study of music, gravitating to all styles of dynamic music by artists ranging from Chicago, David Sanborn, and Sting to the Brecker Brothers and Maynard Ferguson. Since his 1994 debut Long Night Out, Brian has been credited with bringing a youthful yet no less masterful energy to popular instrumental music with hit albums and singles. His sixth album, Nice & Slow (2001), topped Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz chart for six weeks straight. And its follow-up, Come on Up (2003), included his blazing cover of Earth Wind & Fire’s “Serpentine Fire,” impressing Maurice White enough to want to work with him.
Now Brian is raring to share the spirit of Bringing Back the Funk with his fans. Making a final reflection on the musical statement he’s about to unleash on the planet, Brian concludes, “When you record anything, you have to live with it a long time. Ask any of the artists who played on this album. These legends ‘suited up’ and played their hearts out for me, and I am truly humbled.”
PEABO BRYSON is among the world’s most dynamic and gifted vocal talents. Over the course of a career spanning from the mid-’60s but truly igniting in the ’70s, the two-time Grammy-winner has amassed a fan base, critical acclaim, gold albums, and an avalanche of awards by being one of the truly best friends a good song ever had…many of which he composed himself. From ballads that gracefully continued the legacy of sweet soul music such as “Feel the Fire” and “I’m So Into You” to chart-topping pop hits such as “If Ever You’re in My Arms Again” and “Can You Stop The Rain,” and a plethora of duet collaborations with artists ranging from singers Celine Dion (“Beauty and the Beast”) and Regina Belle (“A Whole New World”) to Melissa Manchester (“Lovers After All”) and instrumentalists Kenny G (“By the Time This Night Is Over”) and Jim Brickman (“My Heart Belongs to You”), Peabo Bryson has proven himself as the consummate vocal professional.
Born Robert Peabo Bryson on April 13, 1951 in Greenville, South Carolina, this world-renowned balladeer got his start as a star of the traveling revues Al Freeman & The Upsetters and Moses Dillard & The Tex-Town Display. In 1976, he released his debut LP, Peabo, on Atlanta’s Bullet/Bang label. The project featured Peabo composing nearly all of the songs (some with the great Thom Bell), a young Luther Vandross among the background vocalists, and sexy black film star Tamara “Cleopatra Jones” Dobson showing him love on the back jacket.
But when he bowed on Capitol Records with the back-to-back gold albums Reaching for the Sky (1977) and Crosswinds (1978), he truly penetrated the hearts of soul fans everywhere with the title tracks as well as “Feel the Fire” and “I’m So Into You.” He was paired with Capitol label mate Natalie Cole for the 1979 project We’re the Best of Friends and a year later with Roberta Flack for the double-LP Live & More (on Atlantic Records). Peabo delivered four more albums for Capitol before making a second, even bigger album with Flack titled Born to Love, a gold seller that featured the smash “Tonight I Celebrate My Love” (Top-5 R&B and No. 16 Pop). That led him to sign a deal with Elektra Records for four albums, the second of which, Take No Prisoners, begat the crossover smash “If Ever You’re In My Arms Again” (Top-10 Pop and R&B).
A return to Capitol in 1989 for the one-off album All My Love earned him his first R&B No. 1 single with a remake of the late Al Wilson’s “Show & Tell” (a song for which he proudly keeps the torch lit in all of his shows). He hit the R&B chart-top a second time with the smash “Can You Stop The Rain,” the title track of his R&B chart-topping first of two albums for Columbia Records.
But it was two songs for Disney animated films that earned Peabo his two Grammys. The first came for 1991’s Oscar-winning “Beauty and the Beast” with international pop singer Celine Dion, which also topped the pop chart. The very next year, his duet “A Whole New World (Aladdin’s Theme)” with Regina Belle for the animated film Aladdin earned the second Grammy for Peabo and an Oscar for the song.
Since these two milestones, he has been even more sought-after as a guest vocalist and duet partner, resulting in work with Tony-winner Lea Salonga on “We Kiss in the Shadows” (No. 1 on the Classical Crossover chart from a new recording of The King and I score) and Kenny G’s “By the Time This Night Is Over” (from the chart-topping contemporary jazz CD Breathless).
Peabo has also starred on stage as the lead role in Raisin and as The Wizard in The Wiz, and he was featured in the Michigan Opera’s 100th-anniversary production of Porgy and Bess. He also released a whopping three Christmas CDs, lovingly filled with music he’s performed for several years running in the annual touring holiday music extravaganza, The Colors of Christmas.
The last pop album Peabo released prior to 2007’s Missing You was 1999’s Unconditional Love on the Private Music label. With his tremendous crossover success, Peabo transitioned into “a whole new world” of international acclaim.
After 1999, it took eight years for the proper pieces to fall into place for him to find and sign with a duly supportive company through which to release Missing You: Peak Records, a division of industry giant the Concord Music Group. For Missing You — the 20th album of his career, his first in eight years, and his first for Peak Records — Peabo Bryson continues to do what he does best; producing tracks that showcase the broad palette of his skills and revealing that, ultimately, he is in a class of his own. “In today’s R&B market,” Peabo states, “artists are either young, longing to be young, or trying to be young. I’m only trying to be me.”