Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la. ‘Tis that time of year again. Time for the multi-Grammy nominee and world famous jazz saxophonist, Dave Koz (or often referred to as Santa Koz during this time of year) to grace the Valley of the Sun with his signature smooth sound and holiday cheer at his annual Dave Koz and Friends Christmas Tour. This performance marks the fourth year in a row at the Mesa Arts Center, and on Wednesday, December 17, Koz brought along special guests: the highly revered R&B, jazz and gospel singer/guitarist, Jonathan Butler, the multi-award winner and Grammy nominated songstress, Maysa and the Grammy winning singer/songwriter, Christopher Cross.
Together the quartet performed classic holiday songs from yesteryear and found a way to entertain the audience with their zany antics teasing one another onstage. Imagine lounging peacefully by yourself in your living room with a roaring fire ablaze in the chimney, the soft din of jazzy holiday music filling the air. This Christmas spectacular was a lot like that, with the exception of the 1,600 some odd guests that came to see Koz and friends at the Ikeda Theater.
Separately each artist gave the performance of a lifetime taking the crowd back in time with seasonal, melodic tunes as well as a sampling of their greatest original hits. Making a smooth entrance, Dave Koz opened the evening’s performance with an elegant interpretation of the timeless song ‘The First Noel’. Smiling from ear to ear, Jonathan Butler pounced onto the stage toting his acoustic guitar in his hand while strumming along to a delightful version of ‘Sleigh Ride’. With a voice that could shatter glass, Maysa graced the stage adorned in a spectacular white lace dress and brought a semblance of contemporary spiritualness to the show beginning with the vivacious tune ‘Joy To The World’. While Christopher Cross delighted the fans with a subtle but beautiful medley of his memorable top ten hits like ‘Ride Like The Wind’, ‘Sailing’, ‘Arthur’s Song (The Best That You Can Do)’ and ‘Never Be The Same’.
‘The First Noel’ (Koz)
‘Let It Snow’ (Koz)
‘Sleigh Ride/African Breeze’ (Butler)
‘Christmas Song/Wonderful Time’ (Koz & Butler)
‘Joy To The World’ (Maysa)
‘This Christmas’ (Butler & Maysa)
‘Santa Claus Is Coming To Town’ (Koz, Butler & Maysa)
‘Dream Of Peace’ (Cross)
‘Do You Hear What I Hear?’ (Koz, Butler, Maysa & Cross)
‘Inside My Dream’ (Maysa)
‘Heart And Soul’ (Butler)
‘Never Be The Same/Arthur’s Song/Sailing’ (Koz & Cross)
‘Anything’s Possible’ (Koz)
‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ (Koz, Butler & Maysa)
‘We Will Remember You’ (Maysa & Cross)
‘Christmas Time’ (Koz, Butler, Maysa & Cross)
‘Little Drummer Boy’ (Cross)
‘Grown Up Xmas List’ (Maysa)
‘Another Silent Night’ (Koz)
‘O Holy Night’ (Butler)
‘Hanukkah Song/8 Candles’ (Koz)
‘Deep Waters’ (Maysa)
‘Together Again’ (Koz)
‘Ride Like The Wind’ (Koz, Butler, Maysa & Cross)
‘All You Need Is Love’ (Koz, Butler, Maysa & Cross)
These artists collectively and independently captured the very essence of the season by bringing their beautiful renditions of the greatest Christmas classics to the Valley of the Sun, and their stellar performance surely removed the “Bah! Humbug!” out of any Scrooge. . Remember to attend this magical show next year as it is not to be missed and find out which special guests Dave Koz decides to grace the stage with.