The Grammy Award-winning saxophonist is not a real person, but a character created and performed by Sir Richard Leighton
In his new documentary, Dr. Norm, filmmaker Ben Kadie reveals a bizarre and shocking truth about a beloved, Grammy Award-winning musician: The saxophonist “Dave Koz” is not a real person, but an elaborate hoax perpetrated by veteran British actor Sir Richard Leighton.
As announced yesterday, April 1, 2021, Leighton invented the Koz character 30 years ago, and went on to play his self-created role over the course of three decades. It was a role which grew more challenging as the years went on, requiring increasingly extensive make-up and prosthetics to convincingly portray the eternally boyish musician.
Yet Sir Leighton persisted with Daniel Day-Lewis-like fortitude to fully inhabit “Koz” through the years and an oft-compelling story arc which included his “coming out” many times: as gay, as a marijuana entrepreneur, and perhaps most shocking to the fans, as a gray-haired man.
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Kadie stumbled upon this shocking truth when hired to make a music video for “Dr. Norm,” the newest single from “Koz.”
The song was co-written by “Koz” with Jeff Lorber, a Grammy-award winning artist-keyboardist-producer whom all sources verify is 100 % non-fictional.
This news, which was leaked to the press via press release, has been causing ripples through the music biz, which is easily rippled. It’s been received much like the Millli Vanilli scandal of 1990, when Rob and Fab were revealed to be non-singing frauds, and their Best New Artist Grammy revoked.
It caused a divide in the industry into two factions–believers and deniers–which is the same pattern now in regard to “Koz”: The deniers reject the story entirely as bogus (or, as one called it, “snarky malarkey.”)
The believers, however, believe Leighton’s story is true. Many insist it’s something a lot of people have known all along. Koz’s 30-year streak of success playing jazz in America was something they said always seemed suspect.
Believers, however, don’t have a lot of credibility, because, as one told me, “We will believe in pretty much anything, you know.”
Of those in the believers camp, Chinese oboist Liang Tan was the only one who consented to go on the record. He said he believes the movie is absolutely true as the character of Dave Koz always seemed improbable to him.
“I never really thought Dave Koz was real,” he said on the phone from his Hoboken home. “I mean, how many living sax players do you know who aren’t bitter, drunk or crazy? That dude played jazz for a living, In America! And yet he’s super successful, beloved and is never not smiling. Does that make sense to you?”
After a long pause, during which he seemed to have dozed off, he added, “Jazz! In America! I mean, come on! It’s ludicrous.”
Despite this revelation that he’s not a real person, Koz’s star hasn’t dimmed slightly, and the new song which triggered this, “Dr. Norm,” is a hit, recently #1 Most Added at radio.
It’s from the album A New Day, released in the fall of 2020 as Sir Leighton privately celebrated his 30th year of playing “Koz.” It went to No. 1 position on numerous jazz charts, including iTunes and Amazon.