Koz wows crowd in Carmel


Commentary Zach Dunkin

Growing up and living in Amsterdam, saxophonist Candy Dulfer told the near-capacity audience at the Palladium Dec. 11 that the Dutch also celebrate Christmas, “but not like you guys do in America.” One thing certain, Dave Koz certainly knows how to throw a Christmas party.

For the third consecutive holiday season, Koz brought his “Dave Koz & Friends Christmas Tour” to one of his “favorite halls,” bringing with him Dulfer, guitarist-vocalist Jonathan Butler and Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers. And for the third time, the sax-player extraordinaire delivered a stellar performance.

What began with Koz’s cozy solo of “White Christmas” and ended with an audience sing-along of the Beatles “All You Need Is Love,” the 2 ½-hour evening was packed with holiday hits and, as one might expect and hope for, some of the tunes that brought international success to all four performers. Koz played the perfect host, filling the spots in between songs with stage patter and staying out of the way when his “friends” needed their own spotlight and joining in when his talents on one of three saxes were complementary.

The sexy Dulfer displayed why she is known around the world for her power and high energy. Late in the show, she and Koz staged a “battle of the saxes,” as each of them went at each other with increasingly difficult runs. Dulfer “won.”

Easily the crowd-pleaser of the night was Butler’s soaring “O Holy Night,” which brought the audience to its feet. As Koz graciously noted following Butler’s passionate vocals, “A lot of people come to this show, just to hear that song.”

Before departing, Koz made a New Year’s resolution to return to Carmel for a fourth visit next year. And, as many of them had done Friday night, they will be back, too.

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