Dave Koz is comfortably in and out of his comfort zone these days.
On stage the veteran saxophonist is happy to continue touring with guitarist Jonathan Butler and, for his Detroit show, percussionist Sheila E., both old friends whose musical push is something he depends on every year.
"Jonathan is one of those guys that's just constantly flowing with musicality," says Koz, 47, who's also working these days as the leader of the house band for "The Emeril Lagasse Show" on ION TV. "He's more than a singer; he's this incredible instrumentalist, too. He's so spontaneous. There's never a dull moment with him.
"And you throw Sheila in the mix...She's on fire. She can blow you away on percussion. She's got a lot of different influences she throws into the show, and she's got some kick-ass music of her own, too. She's kind of like my other sister.
Butler and E are both featured on "Getaway," a track from Koz's upcoming new album, "Hello Tomorrow," that's due out this fall. Co-produced by jazz great and longtime Luther Vandross cohort Marcus Miller, the set lets Koz "try on a lot of new clothes, musically," including more traditional jazz styles and even singing on one track, a remake of Herb Alpert's "This Guy's in Love With You."
"It feels like me but it feels like me moving forward," Koz explains. "(Miller) has challenged me to kind of find some new territories with my musicality, much in the same way I think I challenged him to come over to more of the pop side. We met in the middle, I like to say. It's been a totally exhilarating process for me."
Dave Koz with Jonathan Butler and Sheila E. performs at 8 p.m. Thursday, June 17 at SoundBoard in the Motor City Casino, 2901 Grand River Blvd., Detroit. Tickets are $58.50 and $52.50. Call (313) 237-7711 or visit www.motorcitycasino.com.
Send your thoughts and comments to