Dave, Brian, Inge, Marijn, Nick
Dave Koz, Brian Simpson and Nick Colionne - May 9th 2009, London

We spoke to Dave Koz, Brian Simpson and Nick Colionne, all artists on our website, just before their performance in the Pizza Express Jazz Club in London on May 9th, 2009. After a warm welcome, a short introduction of SmoothJazz Europe and handing over the SmoothJazz Europe t-shirts, we started the interview.

Dave Koz - Honey Dipped | Nick Colionne - No Limits | Brian Simpson - It Could Happen

SJEU: What's the story of the three of you performing here in London, because we never heard before of the combination?
Brian: Actually it's the first time! What happened, I got a call from my booking agent, who also books Nick, that we had an offer to perform here in London. And I told my friend Dave Koz.
Dave: And I was jealous!
Brian: Dave said "I want to come too!"
Dave: I "horned" myself in!
Brian: Nick and I had done a few things together.
Dave: Brian and I have worked together over the years and I am a huge fan of Nick for a long time. I admire his work and he is a great melody writer, so it seemed like a perfect beginning for a live relationship and it is great to share the stage with these two guys.
Nick: It's a great thing because I've seen Dave Koz & Friends for years so I said: "Dave, can I be your friend?" and now we have become friends!

SJEU: And how did you prepare for this performance, e.g. set up the playlist?
Brian: Me personally have a lot of experience with putting artists together. I am the musical director for a couple of jazz cruises, you (SJEU) have been on! So you see a lot of different music from a lot of different players and you have to put them together in different combinations. I also work with Dave with his Dave Koz & Friends tours where you have to learn the Friends' music. So you figure out and combine things. A song I would play perhaps, you think "Can I get Dave to do something on it; what's a good song for all of us to play, a song which features Nick", and you take these things in consideration. Luckily I know Dave's music very well and I learned Nick's so it kinda fell into place very easily. And Nick is not only a guitarist, but he sings as well.
SJEU: Are you going to sing for us tonight?
Nick: Probably, am I singing Brian? But for me, Brian sent all the music to me and with Dave Koz - being Dave Koz - I was so familiair with his songs already, I could sing them all in my head! And when I got the music I noticed "Oh, that's the name of that song!" And as Brian said, we worked together a few times, I was already familiair with his stuff, I had to refresh. And we just came together and what happened mostly is that the personalities are also great, on and off the stage. And to me that's an important factor and we really like each other and that's a good thing!
Dave: Yesterday, Friday, was the real test though, to be honest with you. We were all so jet-lagged when we arrived on Thursday. All shows were sold out, the first two shows on the Friday night, plus we did not necessarily knew each others music. And there are two musicians in the rhythm section from the UK, bass and drums, we never played with! So yesterday was this marathon day, starting from the very early morning all day long, putting a show together, quick little break and two shows in the evening! So today we are a little bit refreshed.
SJEU: Is there some change in the normal arrangements, because you play in this combination, e.g. some change in the lead instruments?
Nick: Most of my songs have no horn in it, so Dave just graciously came with his own parts and now it's a new song; maybe I gonna re-record it!
Dave: Great melodies though, and then it's easy, you just jump in. It's the same thing with Brian. And when I am not asked I just come in, I don't care whether he wants me playing!

SJEU: Another thing which is interesting for SmoothJazz Europe; with you performing here (in London), Marc Antoine has been here, Michael Lington and Steve Oliver are coming, do you think Smooth Jazz is more coming to Europe?
Brian: We can only hope so! I think it's actually long overdue. Dave and myself have been playing a lot in Japan, and now after the first visit it became like twice a year!
SJEU: Do you feel that there is more opportunity for you to perform in Europe?
Dave: We are going to Munich (Germany) in September and these are small little babysteps. But I think these are important steps to bring this music to the people. There may be not millions of people, but there is a few dedicated people, like you guys, who like to see it grow in Europe especially. This place here is a wonderful spot to play. We have 6 shows, and everyone of them is sold out. That is an indication that there is a hunger for it.
SJEU: Do you think there is something we can help you with to get you guys over to Europe? You (Dave) told us years ago that radio is the thing, but there is no Smooth Jazz radio in Europe!
Nick: Well one of the thing is that people have to see it, like clips on Youtube. Than it's something more visual than what you hear. When I saw clips of Dave, I would like to see this guy! Hopefully radio will keep going, but it has to be exposed. When people see it, they say "Oh, this is what it is!"
SJEU: If we would win the lottery we would organize a Smooth Jazz festival, for free! Because we want our neighbour to hear it and we are sure he loves it but he doesn't know! He thinks Jazz is not for him.
Nick: You see, even with Smooth Jazz, a lot of people equate the word "Jazz" with the old straight ahead stuff. Straight ahead is beautiful, I played it a long time myself, but with this new music I have been more melodic. But people have to hear it and see how it works.
SJEU: That's why we want to videotape a small part of your show tonight to put on our website, together with this interview. We have done that before with a band from Iceland, called Mezzoforte. Because we also want to expose this music and let Europe know that you are here.
Dave: You have been doing a great job, just that you exist and let it grow. You can feel it that there is incremental growth, like babysteps to the door.

SJEU: Nick, have you been to Europe before?
Nick: Last time I was here, was 19 years ago!
SJEU: And Dave, what about you?
Dave: I have been here quite a lot of time, but the last time playing was about 7 or 8 years ago.
SJEU: You are now very close to the Netherlands (where we live)! There is only some water between!
Dave: I love Amsterdam!
Nick: The land of Candy Dulfer!
SJEU: And what about Germany? Is that a potential place to perform? They did organize the first Smooth Jazz festival last year, and they do it again this year.
Brian: We will be doing that together, in September!
SJEU: Well the lineup sofar only mentioned Michael Lington and Steve Oliver. Are you three coming?
Nick: No, they decided to leave me at home! But I will try to get there too, though!

all pictures by Marijn Eland