Saxophonist Dave Koz figured the 25th year would be the last for his annual Christmas concert tour.
He was wrong.
“I guess people would like us to come back, so we’re keeping it going,” he said.
The 26th Dave Koz & Friends Christmas Tour will stop at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5 at the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel.
“We love coming to the Palladium. It’s one of our favorite tour stops,” Koz said. “It’s such an incredibly beautiful venue. The idea of taking this forward beyond the quarter of a century mark was really to feature a lot of new artists. There are so many new artists that are deserving of attention.”
Koz will be joined on the jazz-based Christmas tour by longtime musical partner Jonathan Butler, a guitarist/singer.
Justin Lee Schultz, who was born in South Africa but lives in the U.S., is making his first appearance with the tour.
“He’s 16 years old and is a complete prodigy on piano and guitar,” Koz said. “He’s an internet sensation, hugely popular.”
Saxophonist/flutist Marcus Robinson also is making his debut with the tour.
“He is one of the most up-and-coming names in the world of contemporary jazz these days,” Koz said. “He’s been with us on our cruises, but he’s never been with us on a Christmas tour.”
Vocalist Rebecca Jade is returning for the third year.
“Since the last year she was with us, her own star has risen prominently in the world of contemporary jazz,” Koz said.
Robinson and Schultz also sing.
“I’m really the only one who doesn’t sing, but that doesn’t stop me,” Koz said.
Koz and Schultz will perform “When You Wish Upon A Star” from “Pinocchio.” An animated version featuring Koz and his rescue dog, Buddy Boy, was recently released.
“We are going to use that opportunity to talk about Disney and how much Disney shaped us,” he said. “That song is so much part of our life since it’s been around since 1940.”
There will be several familiar favorites.
“Christmas is about nostalgia and the creature comforts of the holidays, and music is such a large part of that,” Koz said. “For me, getting a chance to play ‘White Christmas’ is always something I look forward to and the audience looks forward to. Jonathan Butler singing ‘O Holy Night’ is another must. People would riot in the lobby of the venue if he didn’t sing it if he is on the tour.”
Koz said the new guests bring a wealth of their own material.
There will be a Hanukkah segment as well.
“With all that is going on in the world, people’s emotions are close to the surface,” Koz said. “I think it will make for the potential of being one of our most special years on the road. Music has that way, more than any other media, if you ask me, of inspiring and calming people and healing people in ways other forms of entertainment can’t do.”
For more, visit thecenterpresents.org.