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Saxophonist Dave Koz brings holiday show -- and message of hope for gay youths -- to Broward

BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com

Saxophonist Dave Koz says he's perfectly suited to sing a remake on his new album of Herb Alpert's 1968 classic, This Guy's in Love With You.

"The song couldn't come off the way it does if you have somebody with a huge confident voice,'' says Koz, 47, who's gay, single and still seeking a nice man to sing it to. "Perhaps some day in the future.''

Koz, who performs Monday night at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, describes the Burt Bacharach-Hal David song as "a message of love.''

During the recording session, Koz says he ad-libbed the final line, which you must listen carefully to hear: "I sang, 'I'm in love with this guy.'''

He says the song, on his Hello Tomorrow album, is particularly relevant today. "We have so many messages coming at us right now -- intolerance and hate. The song is about being OK and being vulnerable to telling a person how we feel.''

Koz came out publicly in a 2004 Advocate magazine interview.

"I made the worst out of it, I was afraid my career would end,'' the Grammy-nominated performer says. "All the changes I thought would happen, none of them happened. The only thing that changed was me. I just became a much happier person.''

Koz -- global ambassador for Starlight Children's Foundation, a group that helps entertain sick youngsters and their families -- says he can relate to the recent news stories about young gay people who've killed themselves.

"If it wasn't for the saxophone, it could have been me,'' he says. "The saxophone saved my life. It helped me get the emotions out that I couldn't find the words for.''

Things should be better today for young gay people, Koz says, but perhaps they're not.

"Even with those positive images and portrayals, we're seeing kids being bullied and taking their own lives,'' he says. "There's still a disconnect, work that can be done. You can have the most wonderful portrayals, but it is still an individual's journey that has to be done on their own terms.''

Koz's Broward show, his annual A Smooth Jazz Christmas, also features singer-guitarist Jonathan Butler, instrumentalist Brian Culbertson and Dutch saxophonist Candy Dulfer.

The performance will be about 60 percent Christmas music, Koz says, "which is odd for a nice Jewish boy like me, go figure.''

IF YOU GO

Dave Koz & Friends appear 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 29, at Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets $35-$65.
www.browardcenter.org or 954-462-0222.

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