Dave Koz

Close Up 2. Chicago,IL
May 11, 2010

Dave Koz
Dave Koz

Story and photos by James Walker, Jr., Copyright 2010

Close Up 2(CU2) continues to attract some of the top players of Contemporary Jazz to this chic South Loop venue with the appearance on May 11th of Smooth Jazz Icon Dave Koz and his top shelf band. CU2 partnered with Chicagoland Chrysler dealers to bring this classy aggregate to Chicago.

This was the second major smooth jazz artist to grace the stage at this intimate room within recent weeks. Sax man Eric Darius and Chicago favorite Nick Colionne (see our review here) preceded Koz on April 30th. In addition, guitarist Norman Norman Brown and saxophonist Jackiem Joyner made a cameo visit to the club last Saturday following their SmoothChicago.com concert at Du Sable Museum.

Koz was accompanied by his touring band consisting of guitarist Randy Jacobs, bassist Bill "Rubberhand Man" Sharpe, drummer Stevo Thearg, and musical director/keyboardist Brian Simpson, who hails from nearby Gurnee.

As usual for a Koz set, little time was wasted revving up this capacity crowd into a frenzy as they began the set with "Life In The Fast Lane." Koz, the consummate entertainer was energetic from the outset and continued in that mode upon completion two hours later.

This two set performance featured not only Koz, but each of his exceptional band mates. Bill "Rubberhand Man" Sharpe opened "Silver Lining" with a bass solo that had the crowd on its feet. This was followed by Marcus Miller's composition entitled "The Journey." Koz was debuting this number at CU2 and it will appear on Koz's new CD that should be available later this summer.

With this week being the first anniversary of Smooth Jazz bassist Wayman Tisdale's death, Koz and the fellows played one of Wayman's favorites, "Throw It Down." Simpson and Koz engaged in friendly bantering on the lively number.

This exceptional first set was concluded featuring Jacobs on "Bada Bing." Jacobs had the crowd hysterical as he wallowed on his back during the Latin-tinged selection.

Highlights of the second set included Simpson's own composition of "Let's Get Close." Koz and Sharp's playful interchange during "Chicago Song" and their finale on Michael Jackson's "I'll Be There." What an exceptional evening of fun had by all as Koz and friends left a lasting impression at Chicago's only Smooth Jazz Club... CU2.

CU2's Frank Goss also announced their involvement with smooth jazz radio station 87.7 at this year's Chicago Jazz Fest. They will sponsor a Contemporary Jazz Stage at Buckingham Fountain during prime time of this annual two day Grant Park Event.

  For information pertaining to future CU2 events, refer to their website at www.closeup2jazz.com.

Brian Simpson
Brian Simpson

Randy Jacobs
Randy Jacobs

Bill Sharpe
Bill "Rubberhand Man" Sharpe

87.7's Rick O'Dell

Emily, Toni, Odessa, Elvira, Theresa & Taishi

Taishi, Frank Goss & Toni

Taishi, Tommy & Toni

Dave Koz & James Walker

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