Dave Koz Biography
"I do get asked to do duets all the time, but Dave and I have been friends for five years now and I have turned into his number one fan," enthuses Manilow. "Who doesn't know Henry Mancini's 'Moon River'? ...I was delightfully surprised that they had figured out a very hip way of rendering 'Moon River' and I dove in. I'm very happy with it."
As a sample of Judy Garland from The Wizard of Oz gives way to Koz's gentle saxophone on album opener "Over The Rainbow," it becomes apparent that this is a collection borne of love, performed by artists who can render the magic of the originals yet bring their own unique sensibilities to the studio.
Eleven of the songs were Oscar winners or nominees and four of them appear in the Top 10 of the American Film Institute's list of 100 Top Movie Songs -- so these are clearly songs that resonate deeply with movie fans. Vanessa Williams contributes an exquisite version of "The Way We Were," the Oscar-winning song from the film of the same name, and Johnny Mathis perfectly captures the bittersweet quality of "The Shadow Of Your Smile," the Oscar-winning song from The Sandpiper. Other highlights include Anita Baker's rich, elegant rendering of "Somewhere" from West Side Story's Oscar-winning score and Donna Summer's shimmering version of "A Whole New World," the Oscar-winning song from Disney's Aladdin.
Often the pairing of artist and song is personal, as with India.Aire's stunning version of "It Might Be You," the Oscar-nominated theme from Tootsie and At The Movies' first single.
"I want 'It Might Be You,'" India.Aire told producer Phil Ramone. "Don't give it to anyone else; it's my mom's favorite song."
"I've never seen anyone fill the studio with a better vibe than him," Koz says of Ramone, the legendary producer of such projects as Ray Charles' Genius Loves Company, Rod Stewart's Great American Songbook series, Billy Joel's The Stranger and Tony Bennett's new Duets. "That's what his genius is; he's like the best casting director I've ever met in my entire life.
"When Dave and I talked about this album I knew it was something I wanted to do with this fine musician," says Ramone. "We tossed around ideas and it was the movies that intrigued us. We both grew up going to so many movies and musicals, enjoying not only the images but the way the score enhanced the story. We approached this project with the passion the songs and music instilled in us, and so did the guest artists. As for me, I had the best time hearing Dave use the tenor, alto and soprano sax to make a musical painting."
The 40-piece orchestra enlisted by Koz and Ramone provides a majestic, sweeping soundscape for the saxophonist and his guest vocalists. "We approached it as if we were recording it many, many years ago -- no machines, no loops," says Koz.
Multi-Grammy nominee Koz, who has two Gold albums and ten Top 5 hits to his credit, takes center stage on six instrumentals: "Over The Rainbow," "As Time Goes By," "The Pink Panther," "Summer of '42," "Cinema Paradiso" and "Schindler's List." And as an added bonus, the album includes gorgeous instrumental versions of "It Might Be You" and "The Shadow of Your Smile."
"I'm happiest in a darkened theater with a tub of popcorn, a soda, a great movie and a friend," says Koz, voicing the sentiments of many of us. "I love that feeling of being transported to a moment in time. You get to turn off your own life and just disappear into this other world."
So disappear into another world and spend some time At The Movies.