Dave Koz & Friends: The Greatest Hits of Christmas 2020

Online // Saturday, Dec 12, 8pm

November 2020

Editor’s Note: We were honored that Mr. Koz accepted our invitation for a second interview with our head writer Janelle Morrison. We featured Koz in our 2019 December issues and look forward to his return to Carmel in 2021!

A live performance by Dave Koz & Friends has become an annual holiday tradition at the Center for Performing Arts for many local residents and fans. Although the pandemic thwarted plans for their 23rd Annual Christmas Tour, the Grammy Award nominee and multiplatinum-selling jazz icon Dave Koz is rounding up a few fellow performers for a Dec. 12 virtual concert event titled “The Greatest Hits of Christmas 2020.”

Joining him for the one-night-only livestream will be Jonathan Butler, Rick Braun, Richard Elliot, Peter White, David Benoit and vocalist Rebecca Jade. Fans will be able to enjoy the show on any mobile device from virtually any location, including the comfort and safety of your own home!

The ticket price includes online access to the performance for one device as well as digital downloads of Koz’s latest two albums, “A New Day” and “Gifts of the Season.” A virtual VIP meet-and-greet option is available, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Starlight Children’s Foundation.

Dave Koz 2020

A portion of the ticket sales purchased through the Center for the Performing Arts will benefit the Center as well. So, purchase your virtual tickets at thecenterpresents.org—today!

For me, personally, the holidays don’t officially begin until I play one of your holiday albums. Understanding that it will look and feel differently this December, share with us how you and your fellow musicians will keep the tradition going, albeit it in a different way.

We’ve all tried on new clothes this year—learning how to do things differently because we can’t do them the same as before [COVID-19], and this [virtual concert] is a perfect example of that. This would’ve been our 23rd year [touring]. My buddies and I talked about it, and we obviously can’t safely tour around the country, so we put our heads together and came up with the next best thing that we can do. And Carmel is one of our favorite stops on this tour, so it’s like we’re not seeing family when we don’t come every year. This [virtual concert] is a way for us to get the family together—in a different way—and still share the magic of the season with some music, heartfelt memories, some nostalgia and a whole lot of fun!

Dave Koz 2020

The pandemic has literally impacted the entire planet and every industry. How have you, personally, been coping and what are your thoughts as we start to look into 2021? Are you hopeful that we’re going to be in a better place this time next year?

For me, personally, music has helped me cope during this year. It has been such a difficult year for everybody, and music has a way of soothing, healing and calming in a way that other forms of media just don’t have. So, I have hope this concert will bring a lot of healing and comfort to people during this very difficult holiday season. I do feel, intuitively, that we’re moving towards a better place and—God willing—2021 will be a better year for all of us.

Your latest album, “A New Day,” is a masterpiece. It’s like the soundtrack to our lives these past eight months. I also think it’s the perfect gift this holiday season, so my readers out there need to pick up a copy! While “The Closer We Get” is my favorite track from this album, “Summertime in NYC” has an exceptional vibe, and the video is phenomenal as well. You wrote and produced this during the pandemic—what went into creating NYC amid the quarantine?

Thank you so much for the beautiful comments about the album. It really was a labor of love for me. It was a milestone because I’ve never made an album completely in quarantine before. It goes against how we normally make albums, which is everybody in a room together, feeding off of each other. We had none of that this time. I wrote “Summertime in NYC” in NYC on March 14. I will always remember that day because it was the day we all kind of realized that our lives were going to significantly change.

Dave Koz 2020

You collaborated with a star-studded list of musicians on this song and album—including Brian McKnight on vocals for “Summertime in NYC.”

We were writing this song about NYC in NYC, which was one of the first places [in the US] to get hit really hard by the pandemic, and as the world was closing down outside, and instead of going to a place of fear in the studio, we kind of called upon our feel-good music heroes. Bill Withers [who passed on March 30, 2020], we kind of called his spirit into the studio—Earth, Wind & Fire and Chicago, my favorite bands—and we put together this feel-good song that almost passed the pandemic to a place where we were beyond it and healing. We had Brian McKnight come in, and he brought a whole level of positivity and fun to the track. We also had Earth, Wind & Fire’s Ralph Johnson come in and play on the track, giving it his blessing, which was nice.

It’s been rather quiet at the Palladium as we haven’t had our live headliners come through [due to COVID-19], so I appreciate you accepting this interview and reminding people that you care and are missing us as much as we’re missing you. We will definitely be tuning in to see you on Dec. 12.

I think on some level we will be able to feel the energy coming from Carmel, Indiana, and from that area of the country [the night of the virtual concert]. The relationship that we have with the venues and audiences that we see every year is one of the things that’s so powerful about Christmas traditions. Every year, we see parents with their kids, and now those kids have kids of their own, so it’s another generation coming to the show every year. That connection that we build with audiences all over the country gets stronger and has proven to be very special to me on a personal level. And we’re not letting the rest of this year fly by without getting a little slice of the holidays with each and every one of our fans across the country. We look forward to a much happier new year ahead, and we will see you—in person—next year if it’s the last thing I do.