For Saxophone Player Dave Koz, an Unanticipated Pro Career

Saxophonist Dave Koz has released his own successful jazz-pop album. He's a featured musician every Thursday night on the "The Arsenio Hall Show." He's done session work for the likes of U2 and Natalie Cole. He's written and performed music for film and television.

Yet when Koz, now 29, was a communications major at UCLA, he never thought he would be a professional musician, much less a successful professional musician.

"I know it sounds funny, but at that time I never thought of (playing the saxophone for a living)," says Koz, who will perform at the Greek Theatre tonight on a bill with David Benoit and the Rippingtons. "I thought maybe my sister (currently an MTV vice president) could get me a job" with the cable network.

Two months after graduating from UCLA in the mid-'80s, Koz received an invitation to join singer Bobby Caldwell's band. That eventually led to a slew of high-profile gigs, including a job playing in Richard Marx's touring band. In 1990 Koz released an eponymous solo album.

Since becoming a regular on "The Arsenio Hall Show" last May, Koz has exhibited both sax and sex appeal. TV Guide recently proclaimed that Koz "has become a late-night heartthrob, causing quivers and shivers down the spines of frantic female fans."

"I don't even know that (sex symbol) stuff," the ingratiatingly modest instrumentalist says. "I try not to pay too much attention to that aspect. I just play and have fun."

Koz and his brother Jeff--who writes and produces music for radio and TV commercials--may be the only songwriters to ever pen a TV theme song with their mother. Last year, the three wrote the signature song for the NBC comedy "Walter & Emily."

"My mom pushed us to do the theme for a friend who was the show's creator," recalls Koz. "She came up with the title and lyric ideas. We wrote it on the plane coming home from Lake Tahoe. We were passing notes back and forth. The next day we demoed it. We sent it off to the producers, and they loved it. The only problem was that the show went off the air."

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