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Dave Koz and Friends Christmas Tour Plays Santa Barbara's Granada Theatre Tonight

Dave Koz and Friends Christmas Tour, a high-energy holiday tradition celebrating its 15th anniversary, returns to Santa Barbara for one show only, presented as part of the Granada Theatre Concert Series tonight, December 20 at 8 p.m. at the Granada Theatre.

Tickets range from $49 to $88 and are available now at the Granada Theatre Box Office, 1214 State Street, Santa Barbara; by phone at (805) 899-2222; and online at www.granadasb.org.

A local charity receives some holiday cheer as $1 from each Dave Koz Christmas CD sold at this show goes to Santa Barbara's Unity Shoppe, as a donation by Koz and Friends. In addition, patrons are invited to bring new, unwrapped toys to the theater as part of the Unity Shoppe Toy Drive. Donation bins are located in the Granada Theatre lobby, which is open the same hours as the Granada Theatre Box Office: Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.

Led by seven-time Grammy nominee and saxophonist extraordinaire Dave Koz, this show features special guests Grammy-nominated pianist/composer David Benoit, who appeared in the original 1997 line-up and was instrumental in the tour's creation; Javier Colon, who sang on Koz's Saxophonic album and was the winner of the inaugural season of NBC's hit show, "The Voice;" the inimitable drummer/percussionist/vocalist Sheila E. (Prince, Cyndi Lauper. Ringo Starr), who makes her debut in the Christmas lineup after appearances on previous Dave Koz & Friends summer tours; and introduces singer/songwriter Margo Rey.

Together the quintet performs hits from their respective catalogues and jam on fresh, fun arrangements of seasonal favorites. As always, there are surprises, and Koz hints that the production takes things to a new level and includes a special medley of "Peanuts" holiday music inspired by Benoit, who has paid tribute to Vince Guaraldi's timeless music with several "Peanuts" themed albums.

"I think the Christmas season gives us all a chance to go back in time, it's so nostalgic--and music plays such a big role in bringing out that feeling," says Koz. "It never ceases to blow me away, how much people love holiday songs -- as evidenced by our 15th anniversary of this tour. This year especially, we'll try to fit in as many favorites as possible and add our own unique touches along the way."

Koz has released 12 albums in the past 20 years, including four Christmas collections, and has received widespread acclaim for his live performances. The New York Times recently noted, "He's a musician of unflappable rhythmic aplomb, which he happily squares against the airtight funk of his band."

The new Live at the Blue Note Tokyo, hisfirst-ever live CD, will be sold at the show, and is also available at Whole Foods and all digital retailers. This 12-song collection captures a 2011 performance in Japan and includes such hits as "You Make Me Smile," "Faces Of The Heart," "Honeydipped" and "Put The Top Down."

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