Delightful finger-snapping is what we start with, but as we sink into the groove along with Dave Koz in his new single “Summertime in NYC,” it starts to feel like he’s throwing everything but the kitchen sink into this song in a bid to give us the smooth jazz symphony we didn’t even know we needed in 2020. In “Summertime in NYC,” which features none other than Mr. Brian McKnight stopping in to help out on the vocal harmony, Koz reminds us of how he got to be at the top of the game, and more specifically, what he’s doing to remain there today.
You could cut through the tension the bassline is emitting here with a butter knife, but even with this being so, that doesn’t prevent the percussion from dishing out the sexiest swing behind the vocal you’re likely to come in contact with anytime soon.
There’s a broken cadence to the verse from McKnight and the sax parts from Koz that only intensifies the enigmatic emotions in the rhythm of the music, and although it’s multi-interpretive due to its overwhelmingly surreal nature, I think the big picture here places “Summertime in NYC” in the category of uplifting autumn jazz.
As both a music video and a single, “Summertime in NYC” lives up to the buzz that tends to surround any major release we get from Dave Koz, and while it’s not his first hit (and probably won’t be his last), I think there’s a lot we can learn about his future from what it has to share. He’s staying devoted to the puritan smooth jazz that launched his career into the spotlight all the way back in the 1990’s here, and among his peers to have come into success around the same time, he’s one of the only players to still have the kind of credibility he did as a young, fresh-faced jazz musician.