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All that jazz

Anh Nguyen

NORTH HOLLYWOOD -- It was a lesson in music.

Twelve musically inclined Burbank High School students attended the

final rehearsal for David Koz’s Third Annual Smooth Jazz Christmas Tour


Thursday as part the “GRAMMY Sessions,” educational program.

The program is sponsored by the GRAMMY Foundation, a nonprofit arm of

the Recording Academy, which cultivates understanding and appreciation of

music and arts.


They Burbank students were joined at Third Encore Studios by students

from Westchester High School in Los Angeles. Together, the two school

groups listened and watched at the North Hollywood studio as Koz and his

bandmates rehearsed a sampling of holiday favorites and some of their own

songs for an upcoming national tour.

After the concert -- which had the students clapping and moving to the

music -- the band answered questions about their musical style, careers

and even their personal lives.


Members of the band joked with the students in a lighthearted exchange

and fielded questions ranging from the kind of music and instruments they

prefer to how they get along while on tour. Koz and the others in the

band stressed to the budding musicians the importance of versatility in a

business where ability to perform different musical genres is the key to

staying employed. They also told the students not be discouraged by their

mistakes and prodded them to play music outside of school.

Burbank High senior Russell Leek, 17, said he would like to major in


music at UCLA next year. He said he learned that being a musician is not

only about professionalism, but teamwork.

“You don’t have to be in the spotlight. You can do just as much in the

background,” Leek said.

Koz, who plays the saxophone, said he enjoyed the experience with the

students because it reminded him of how he got started in the business.

“When I was in high school, my band director was very influential,”

Koz said. “By being exposed to music, it stimulated my desire.”

After the 2 1/2-hour session, the students received a CD by Koz and a

career handbook from the GRAMMY Foundation.

Burbank High ninth-grader Eduardo Basso, who has been playing the

alto saxophone for three years, said the program gave him a better idea

of the life of a professional musician.

“It’s more fun than working in offices,” Basso said.

Classmate Jackie Salguero agreed.

“This is a lot of hard work. It can also be fun and entertaining,” she