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Dave Koz 20th Anniversary Christmas Tour at Tilles Center December 4, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Baseball, Comedy, Education, Football, Internet, Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, Travel, TV.
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Saturday night, my friend Lori Downing and I saw the Dave Koz 20th Anniversary Christmas Tour at the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of my college alma mater, LIU Post. Saxophonist Dave Koz’s friends are guitarist Peter White, horn player Rick Braun, pianist David Benoit, and singer Selina Albright, daughter of saxophonist Gerald Albright. (She plays the sax, too.) The rest of the band was made up of music director Randy Jacobs on guitar, Brian Simpson on keyboards, Nathaniel Kearney Jr. on bass, and Jay Williams on drums.

There are 149 pictures waiting below, but first, the backstory.

This was my first time at Tilles for something not involving WCWP since July 2009 when I saw John Tesh perform. It was also my first concert since Smooth Jazz for Scholars in May. Rick Braun was there for the first night.

I have been meaning to see Dave in concert for almost 11 years. My dad bought tickets to Dave’s Valentine’s Day show at Best Buy Theater in Manhattan in 2007, but an ice storm kept us from going. Four Februarys later, I had another opportunity to see Dave at the same theater with my friend, and loyal Dave Koz fan, Kelly Dacey. Unfortunately, plans came up for her and I missed out again.

For four years in a row, I saw Peter White Christmas – a spin-off of sorts of Dave’s Christmas tour featuring Peter and Rick Braun, along with saxophonist Mindi Abair – at the defunct IMAC (Inter-Media Art Center) in Huntington. (Here’s my recap of my fourth year.)

This year, to use a cliche, Dave got the band back together to mark the 20th anniversary of his tour. The inaugural tour coincided with his first Christmas album, December Makes Me Feel This Way. With Peter, Rick, and David Benoit, whom I hadn’t seen perform since five days before Hurricane Sandy, on board, I felt compelled to finally see Dave in concert. When I noticed in early September that the tour was coming to the Tilles Center on December 2, I immediately bought two tickets, inviting my friend Lori Downing to come with me. I picked those tickets up at Tilles’s Will Call booth on October 13, following my WCWP Homecoming Weekend show.

I was anxious in the days leading up to Dave’s show, worried that something would go wrong. Thankfully, nothing did.

Until Lori picked me up around 6:30 PM, it was a typical Saturday for me. I exercised, ran on the treadmill, went grocery shopping with my friend Rob Leeds, and watched NCAA Division I FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) conference championship games.

I guided Lori from my house to LIU Post, going the route I’ve known for 18 years of my life: the Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway (NY 135) north, the Long Island Expressway (I-495) west, NY 106/107 north, breaking off into 107 north, Northern Boulevard (NY 25A) west, and the west entrance to LIU Post. I usually went in the east entrance to be let off at Post Hall (where the Academic Resource Center was) or WCWP, but I directed her to the other one since we were going to Tilles.

We arrived just after 7PM, but had to wait a half hour for the concert hall doors to open.

Our tickets were for row JJ, which I affectionately called the Uecker seats, a reference to an infamous Miller Lite commercial from 1984, starring Hall of Fame baseball player and broadcaster Bob Uecker, a spokesman for Miller beer at the time:

Our seats weren’t that high. The view of the stage was great (and less filling). It still helped to have my 55-300 mm lens for the pictures I was about to take.

The show began at 8:08 when David Benoit, offstage, announced: “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome your host for the evening, Dave Koz!”

“New York, make some noise!

Before you see the rest of the pictures, I present the set list:
1. Opening Medley: Winter Wonderland/Happy Holiday/The Most Wonderful Time of the Year/Angels We Have Heard On High/Sleigh Ride
Dave Koz – lead vocals on “Happy Holiday”
Dave’s saxophone: tenor

2. Let It Snow
Dave’s saxophone: tenor

3. Little Drummer Boy
Can be heard on: December Makes Me Feel This Way (1997), A Smooth Jazz Christmas (2001)
Dave’s saxophone: soprano

4. I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm
Dave’s saxophone: tenor
Selina Albright – lead vocals
Rick Braun, trombone

5. The Christmas Song
Dave’s saxophone: tenor
Selina Albright – lead vocals

6. Santa Claus is Coming to Town
Dave’s saxophone: tenor
Selina Albright – lead vocals
Peter White, Rick Braun – background vocals
Peter White – spoken verse
Randy Jacobs – electric guitar solo

7. White Christmas
Can be heard on: December Makes Me Feel This Way (1997)
Dave Koz only
Dave’s saxophone: alto

8. Together Again (Dave Koz)
Originally heard on: The Dance (1999)
Dave Koz/David Benoit
Dave’s saxophone: soprano

9. Possible (Selina Albright)
Originally heard on: Conversations (2017)
Selina Albright only

10. Everything is Alright (Rick Braun)
Originally heard on: Around the Horn (2017)
Rick Braun/Dave Koz/Peter White
Dave’s saxophone: tenor
Rick Braun – lead vocals
Randy Jacobs, Nathaniel Kearney Jr., Peter White, Dave Koz – background vocals
Randy Jacobs – electric guitar solo
Brian Simpson – piano, dance solo
Jay Williams – drum solo
Rick prompted the audience to sing the “hey, hey, pretty mama” line.

11. Do I Do/Promenade (Peter White)
Originally heard onGroovin’ (2016)/Promenade (1993)
Peter White/Dave Koz/Rick Braun
Dave’s saxophone: alto

12. The Music of Charlie Brown: Christmas is Coming*/Skating**/Christmas Time is Here***/Linus and Lucy**** (David Benoit)
David performs these songs on:
* – Remembering Christmas (1996), 40 Years: A Charlie Brown Christmas (2005), Believe (2015) (part of “Guaraldi Medley”)
** – Remembering Christmas (1996)
*** – Christmastime (1983); Remembering Christmas (1996), Here’s to You, Charlie Brown: 50 Great Years! (2000)
**** – This Side Up (1985); Happy Anniversary, Charlie Brown (1989); Here’s to You, Charlie Brown: 50 Great Years! (2000)
Dave’s saxophone: soprano on “Christmas Time is Here,” tenor on “Linus and Lucy”
Selina Albright – vocals on “Christmas Time is Here,” vocalese on “Linus and Lucy”

INTERMISSION

13. Hark! The Herald Angels We Have Heard On High (Medley) (Dave Koz & Friends)
Originally heard on20th Anniversary Christmas (2017)
Dave’s saxophone: soprano

14. Silent Night
Can be heard on: 20th Anniversary Christmas (2017)
Selina Albright, end verse vocals
Dave’s saxophone: soprano

15. Feliz Navidad
Can be heard on: 20th Anniversary Christmas (2017)
Selina Albright – lead vocals
Dave Koz, Rick Braun – background vocals
Dave’s saxophone: soprano

16. Joy to the Wonderful World (Medley) (Dave Koz & Friends)
Originally heard on20th Anniversary Christmas (2017)
Dave’s saxophone: alto
In a year where Lori and I went to the Louis Armstrong House and Museum, and 50 years since “What a Wonderful World” was recorded, this song warmed our hearts.

17. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Selina Albright – lead vocals
Dave’s saxophone: soprano

18. The Hanukkah Song/Eight Candles (A Song for Hanukkah) (Dave Koz)
“Eight Candles” originally heard onDecember Makes Me Feel This Way (1997), A Smooth Jazz Christmas (2001)
Dave Koz/Peter White/Rick Braun
Dave Koz – lead vocal on “The Hanukkah Song”
Peter White – accordion on “Eight Candles”
Rick Braun – trombone on “Eight Candles”
Dave’s saxophone on “Eight Candles”: soprano

19. Every Step of the Way/Kei’s Song Redux/Freedom at Midnight (David Benoit)
Originally heard onEvery Step of the Way (1988)/Conversation (2012)/Freedom at Midnight (1987)
Dave’s saxophone on “Freedom at Midnight”: tenor

20. Bueno Funk (Peter White)
Originally heard on: Glow, 2001
Peter White/Dave Koz/Rick Braun
Jay Williams – drum solo
Dave’s saxophone: tenor

21. Grazing in the Grass (Rick Braun)
Originally heard on: Shake It Up (with Boney James) (2000); Sessions, Volume 1 (2006)
Rick Braun/Dave Koz/Peter White
Mid-song vocal medley: Groovin’/Just My Imagination/Shotgun/Soulful Strut (instrumental)
Dave’s saxophone: tenor

22. You Make Me Smile (Dave Koz)
Originally heard on: Lucky Man (1993)
Nathaniel Kearney Jr. – bass solo
Rick Braun – trombone
Dave’s saxophone: soprano

23 (Encore). Celebrate Me Home
Part of “The Home Medley” on 20th Anniversary Christmas (2017)
Dave Koz, Selina Albright – lead vocals
Rick Braun, Peter White – background vocals
Everyone, even the audience, joined in on vocals at the end
Dave’s saxophone: alto

Now, the rest of the pictures. We start with Dave Koz on tenor sax:

Soprano sax:

And alto sax:

Peter White:

Peter played accordion on “Eight Candles”:

Rick Braun:

I never knew Rick played trombone until Saturday night:

Marching back and forth during the “Eight Candles” refrain:

David Benoit:

The “Linus and Lucy” solo, complete with Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree:

Selina Albright:

Randy Jacobs:

Brian Simpson:

Nathaniel Kearney Jr.:

Jay Williams’ “Bueno Funk” solo:

On to wide shots, starting with the opening medley:

“Santa Claus is Coming to Town”:

“Together Again”:

“Everything is Alright”:

…which featured a dance solo by Brian Simpson, accompanied by drummer Jay Williams:

“Promenade”:

“Linus and Lucy”:

“Hark! The Herald Angels We Have Heard On High (Medley)”:

“Silent Night”:

“Feliz Navidad”:

“Joy to the Wonderful World (Medley)”:

“Eight Candles”:

“Freedom at Midnight”:

“Bueno Funk” began in the audience:

The James Bond routine:

After Selina put the sunglasses on, Peter played a wolf whistle riff, which made me chuckle.

“Grazing in the Grass”:

“You Make Me Smile”:

Finally, the encore: “Celebrate Me Home”:

Dave had everyone pose for a picture – albeit, a small one – posted to Facebook and Instagram:

Here’s how it looked:

“… God bless you, Happy Holidays, good night!”:

About an hour after the band left the stage, there was a meet and greet in the Tilles Center’s Herbert and Dolores Goldsmith Atrium, which has hosted the annual WCWP Hall of Fame Ceremony since the first class was inducted in 2012. Coincidentally, I was wearing the same shirt that I wore at this year’s ceremony. Rick was the first musician Lori and I met and greeted while we were in line for Dave, Peter, and Selina:

Then, at the table, I caught up with Peter, and introduced myself to Selina and Dave. I told Dave that Kelly Dacey said hello. He appreciated that and asked what she’s up to these days. I told him. 15 minutes later, after the autograph portion of the meet-and-greet was over, I posed for a picture:

As we were posing, Dave said it was great to meet him. Through my posed smile, I said “likewise.” Selina got a kick out of that, which led me to quip “I’m a regular Jeff Dunham.”

Then, Lori joined us:

I told Dave about how we’d been to the Louis Armstrong House and Museum earlier this year and how special it was to hear “What a Wonderful World” following the trip.

After that, Lori and I packed our things and left the building, but not the campus. First, I wanted to show Lori around WCWP; or at least, since the door was locked, the exterior of the Abrams Communication Center that’s been home to it since its switch to FM in March 1965. (It began as a carrier current station in October 1961.) She was fascinated.

The clock struck midnight as Lori and I drove back to our homes. It had been a fantastic five hours on the campus of LIU Post and its Tilles Center for the Performing Arts. I had a blast! It was great to meet Dave and Selina for the first time and see Peter and Rick again. I spoke to David on Facebook on Sunday, letting him known how things went for me, complimenting him and the band, and wishing them all luck on the rest of the Dave Koz 20th Anniversary Christmas Tour.

Merry Christmas to all that observe it and Happy Hanukkah to me, Dave, and our Jewish friends and family.

P.S. As I finish this post, I’m at the end of my 302-song iTunes instrumental Christmas music playlist, which I started listening to on November 9. Okay, let’s take it from the top!

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