As summer ended, Dave Koz put down his saxophone and paused to take a breath. He’d just finished a packed concert tour, launched his own line of wines, and auditioned for a “big TV show” that sounds a lot like Dancing With the Stars. (He won’t say which “big TV show,” since he didn’t quite make the cut.)

Now, Koz is home in his native Los Angeles for a little party on the sidewalk outside the Capitol Records building, his musical home for 20 years. Today, with some 60 friends and countless fans watching, Koz gets his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It’s an honor he calls “very, very cool, unexpected, and still shocking.”

Maybe it’s not the first star ever granted to a gay performer who’s already out, but finding another example among the 2,000-odd recipients is a needle-haystack proposition. No DeGeneres, no McKellen, no O’Donnell -- and the only Melissa is a Gilbert.

His pink, five-pointed imprint of immortality duly unveiled -- two stars down from Garth Brooks -- it was back into the fray for Koz. He’s prepping for his 13th smooth jazz Christmas concert tour, with the original 1997 lineup of David Benoit, Peter White, Rick Braun, and Brenda Russell. In January he hosts the fifth and final sold-out Dave Koz Cruise, followed by the run-up to the release of a new album. Due next spring, it will be his first CD of all-new, original material since he came out in The Advocate in 2004.

“I’m always changing, always morphing,” Koz says.

That’s easy to believe from a jazz man whose website urges fans to buy wine and “cookies for a Koz” -- both benefit the Starlight Children’s Foundation -- on the same page where it urges them to read gay activist David Mixner’s eulogy for Sen. Ted Kennedy, a friend and hero to Koz.

He’s a one-man industry with his own company, cheekily dubbed Just Koz. He’s also “just Koz” in his private life: At 46, he’s still single, and still hopeful.
What’s your take on being part of the Hollywood Walk of Fame?
Dave Koz: Growing up in Los Angeles, I used to go with my parents and my brother and sister down there and look at the stars, and my favorite thing to ask my parents was, “Who’s this?” So now people will be walking by my star and going, “Who’s Dave Koz?”

Tags: Music