Posts Tagged ‘ Steve Cole ’

Steve Cole – Smoke And Mirrors

12_8Saxophonist Steve Cole celebrates the release of his tenth album. After Stay Awhile (1998), Between Us (2000), NY LA (2003), Spin (2005), True (2006), Moonlight (2011), Pulse (2013), Turn It Up (2016) and Gratitude (2019), he returns with Smoke + Mirrors (2021).

The title is derived from the art of magic, although Steve does not hide behind smoke or mirrors but strives to show his true self. Like many other musicians, he has used the standstill in live performances to give free rein to his creativity and not rest on achieved laurels. In doing so, he has drawn on his proven longstanding partnership with musician and producer David Mann, who is also involved in all tracks on this production.

Other backing musicians are Bernd Schoenhardt (guitar), Trevor Neumann (trumpet, flugelhorn), Mel Brown (bass, piccolo bass), Brian Dunne (drums), Ricky Peterson (organ), Mark Egan (bass), and Todd Sucherman (drums). As you would expect, the album bristles from the start with a perfect horn arrangement featuring David Mann on numerous instruments. Living Out Loud is not just the title, it’s meant to be.

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Steve Cole – Smoke And Mirrors

12_8On ‘Smoke and Mirrors‘, American smooth jazz saxophonist Steve Cole offers up an intimately personal reflection of his own true self, free of trickery or sleight of hand. Created entirely in pandemic-necessitated isolation, it brings together an all-star band with Cole’s longtime producer, co-writer and multi-instrumentalist David Mann.

The far-flung ensemble includes guitarist Bernd Schoenhart (Cher, Marc Anthony); trumpet and flugelhorn player Trevor Neumann (The Eagles, Jeff Lorber); organist Ricky Peterson (David Sanborn, Prince); bassists Mel Brown (Stevie Wonder, The Temptations) and Mark Egan (Pat Metheny Group, Sting); drummers Brian Dunne (Hall and Oates, Ariana Grande) and Todd Sucherman (Styx, Brian Wilson).

While there were certainly challenges to corralling this stellar roster of musicians remotely from home recordings or socially distanced studio settings, quarantine did prove an equaliser in another sense. “Everybody’s stuck at home,” Cole points out with a laugh. “There are a lot of musicians that I would love to work with, but it’s impossible because they’re always on the road. So there was a little silver lining in the fact that I could call old friends like Todd Sucherman and Brian Dunne, or amazing artists like Mark Egan, and they’re actually available.”

The new album Smoke & Mirrors will be available on June 18th, 2021 on all platforms.

Steve Cole – Gratitude

Saxophonist Steve Cole had retired for a short time due to health problems of a family member, he was caring for. Now he is back in old presence. Appropriately his new album Gratitude has just been released, like his earlier albums on the label Mack Avenue Music Group. After Stay Awhile (1998), Between Us (2000), NY LA (2003), Spin (2005), True (2006), Moonlight (2011),Pulse (2013) and Turn It Up 2016). Gratitude is his ninth album.

According to the credits Steve performs on the new album tenor sax and keyboards. He is joined by Trevor Neumann (trumpet), Dan Levine (trombone), David Mann (tenor sax, flute, keyboards, programming), Ricky Peterson (Hammond B3), Bernd Schoenhart (guitar), Khari Parker (drums), Lamar Jones (bass), John James (vocals), and Marcus Anderson (flute, keyboards, programming). The album was produced by David Mann.

The album starts in uplifting mood with Good News Day presenting a finely tuned saxophone arrangement in combination with a balanced chorus line. Neo Sol is a mesmerizing tune with harmonies inspired by EWF.

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Steve Cole – Gratitude

Gratitude, due out July 26 via Mack Avenue Music Group’s Artistry Music, arrives on the heels of a health scare in Steve Cole’s family. The successful battle left the saxophonist feeling rejuvenated, with a renewed sense of hope and faith in his fellow humans. That depth of feeling shines through on the album’s ten tracks, which joyously spotlight Cole’s gift for infectious grooves, soulful melodies, and vibrant pop hooks. “Going through something like this,” Cole says of the recent health scare, “and seeing all these marvelous people who care so much about others has really imbued my music with optimism and gratitude.”

Co-produced with longtime collaborator and fellow saxophonist David Mann, Gratitude in no way reinvents the trademark sound that has seen Cole consistently top the contemporary jazz charts, both solo and with the much-loved sax trio The Sax Pack, over the last two decades. But it does find an artist with a love of life and an overflowing passion for self-expression, the formula for an invigorating and moving set of music. “Joy is baked into this record, and hopefully it means as much to the listeners as it does to me.”

The ensemble on Gratitude includes his regular rhythm section, bassist Lamar Jones and drummer Khari Parker, along with guitarist Bernd Schoenhart, organist Ricky Peterson and horn players Trevor Neumann and Dan Levine. As he has been since Cole’s second album, David Mann was a crucial partner: producing, playing multiple instruments, and even providing the album’s heartfelt title track. Continue reading

Steve Cole – Turn It Up

Saxophonist Steve Cole has made a great impact on the smooth jazz scene with Stay Awhile (1998), Between Us (2000), NY LA (2003), Spin (2005), True (2006), Moonlight (2011) and Pulse (2013).

Now he returns with a new shining star. Turn It Up is his call. The supporting team hasn’t changed very much compared to his previous album. David Mann (sax, flute, keyboards, synth bass, programming), Ricky Peterson (Hammond B3), Nicholas Cole (keyboards, synth bass, programming), Khari Parker (drums), Bernd Schoenhart (guitar) are being strengthened by Lamar Jones (bass), James Lloyd (piano) and Keith Fluitt (vocals).

Turn It Up is produced by David Mann. His specialty are fine horn arrangements giving every sax album a powerful background. Sidechain starts pumped up that way. Trevor Neumann on trumpet, Dan Levine on trombone and David Mann on sax flavor Cole’s performance.

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Steve Cole – Turn It Up

TurnItUpKnown for consistently cranking out chart-topping singles that deploy big vibrant pop hooks, contemporary jazz saxophonist Steve Cole conjures a sonic escapade with the hypnotic “Mirage,” the first single from his forthcoming eighth album, Turn It Up, which will be released July 15 by Artistry Music. Radio programmers were instantly spellbound, making the track from the David Mann-produced set of R&B grooves and soul-powered sojourns the No. 1 most added single on the Billboard BDS chart.

The entrancing single on which electronic beats bombard the senses before chill tenor and soprano sax leads and a soothing trumpet undercurrent take command of the illusion is one of nine new songs on the session, eight of which were composed or co-composed by Cole. The tune reflects his hometown roots and ardor for Chicago’s dance music scene. It’s one of three major cities that helped shape the collection.

“I embarked on ‘Turn It Up’ with the goal of making music with great musicians and great friends in great cities. This time around I wrote much of the music with Dave Mann in New York City. We recorded horns, guitars and vocals there as well. The energy in that great city was truly inspiring and it really is reflected in the music. Next stop was Minneapolis, where I worked with the great keyboardist and producer Ricky Peterson. Ricky and I wrote the song ‘Workhouse’ together, a track influenced by our love of Chicago house music. Dave joined us later in Minneapolis to record Ricky on the Hammond B3 organ as well as to record my Chicago pals, bassist Lamar Jones and drummer Khari Parker. I decided to track all of the saxophone parts in Minneapolis as well,” explained Cole, who has a slate of festival and club dates running into mid-October to help support the album release. Continue reading

I Happened To Hear 09/2013

I’m almost embarrassed to tell you how long I’ve been listening – and enjoying – music from the Jeff Lorber Fusion in its various lineups. It’s always sounded different and distinctive to my ears. When Kenny G went off to do something altogether smoother, Jeff kept the groove alive. On this latest record – which is in some measure a shout out to the legendary dance club of the same name in Manchester, England, the funk is still much in evidence.

The band’s name is ‘Fusion’ though and you jazz lovers will enjoy how Jeff stretches out on the opener “Corinaldo”. Eric Marienthal, unusually on tenor sax, sounds fantastic. Guitarist Larry Koonse will similarly delight fans of precise finger work on the busy “Solar Wind”. Did you expect to hear a Frank Zappa song on here? Well, “King Kong” is the album’s only cover and the record’s fusion credentials go up a notch with the involvement of violinist Jean-Luc Ponty. In my head, I made a note ‘sounds like Return to Forever on great form’. What else can I say?

There are mellower moments on “The Steppe”, which features a lovely acoustic piano sound and a sound very reminiscent of Yellowjackets – with Jimmy Haslip on bass it’s not such a surprise. “Playa del Falco” cleverly switches time signatures and the interplay between electric piano and soprano sax is particularly enjoyable.

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Steve Cole – Pulse

Coming from the Chicago club scene Saxophonist Steve Cole started his solo career with the Brian Culbertson-produced Stay Awhile (1998), followed by Between Us (2000), NY LA (2003), Spin (2005), True (2006), and Moonlight (2011).

His newest released is entitled Pulse and will be released in September, 2013 on Mack Avenue Records’ Artistry Music. This album is a collaboration of Steve Cole and David Mann (sax, flute, keyboards, synth bass, programming). Further musicians are Ricky Peterson (Hammond B3), Nicholas Cole (keyboardist, synth bass, programming), Khari Parker (drums), Paul Peterson (electric bass), Rico McFarland (guitar, lead & background vocals), Bernd Schoenhart (guitar) and Nicki Richards (background vocals).

With the introducing title song Steve teams up with the horn group of Trevor Neumann (trumpet), Dan Levine (trombone) and David Mann (sax). Together they harmonize the sound and are keeping pace with the times.

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Steve Cole – Pulse

pulseRather apropos that saxophonist Steve Cole covered the soul classic “Going In Circles” on his forthcoming “Pulse” album, his 7th solo disc, which he produced and wrote with fellow sax player David Mann. Honest and organic are vital qualities to Cole, whose creative muse has gone full-circle in the 15 years since he burst onto the contemporary jazz scene with an award-winning debut disc that spawned a pair of #1 singles. The tenor saxman “returns to the basics” on the new 10-song set that will be released September 17th by Artistry Music.

“Pulse” comes out swinging with knockout punch hooks, a muscular horn section and soul-powered grooves. In contrast to his divergent 2011 album, “Moonlight,” that placed the classically-trained Cole in a lavish orchestral setting, the new record is a bounty of R&B, soul, funk, blues, gospel and hip hop jams. Cole makes concise statements constructed of big buoyant melodies and taut rhythms. No notes are wasted as the impassioned artist rides grooves tailor-fit by Mann (section saxes, flute, keyboards, synth bass, programming), noted keyboard veteran Ricky Peterson (Hammond B3), wunderkind Nicholas Cole (keyboardist, synth bass, programming), Khari Parker (drums), Paul Peterson (electric bass), Rico McFarland (guitar, lead & background vocals), Bernd Schoenhart (guitar) and Nicki Richards (background vocals). Trevor Neumann (trumpet) and Dan Levine (trombone) cement the wall of horns anchored by Steve Cole and Mann.

“’Pulse’ is about finding an audience and really honoring them. I have a voice and an instrument, but my job is to entertain. It’s simple in a way: if you focus on those people right in front of you and what excites them, you win every time. My work is about moving people. If you can figure out how to do that, the rest falls into place,” said Cole about the album that is chock-a-block full of crowd pleasers and potential radio favorites.

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Steve Cole – Moonlight

Saxophonist Steve Cole is one of the most celebrated players in contemporary jazz, having sold hundreds of thousands of albums worldwide and scored four #1 R&R Smooth Jazz hits. With five CDs in his catalog for Atlantic, Warner Brothers and Narada Jazz, Cole kicks off a new multiple-album deal with Mack Avenue Records/Artistry Music by releasing Moonlight, a collection of classic pop songs and standards set against an orchestral backdrop. The project includes such iconic songs as Burt Bacharach’s The Look of Love, the classic torch song Cry Me a River, Lennon/McCartney’s The Long and Winding Road, the Guess Who’s Undun and James Taylor’s Close Your Eyes.

With his gorgeous, classically trained tone and an ear for lyrical melody, Cole most closely resembles a vocalist, emphasizing interpretive phrasing and direct emotion. On Moonlight, he has found the perfect setting for this bel canto technique-a symphonic orchestra playing inspired arrangements by Michael Cunningham, making his splashy major-label debut as an orchestral arranger. In addition to the strings, the arrangements include tastefully placed harp, woodwinds and tempered brass. The supporting rhythm section is composed of Mike Logan (Will Downing) on keyboards, Russell Ferrante (Yellowjackets) on piano and Steve Rodby (Pat Metheny Group) on bass.

At the heart of this project is the title track, which appeared in the 1995 film Sabrina. “I saw the movie a few years ago and heard that song,” Cole says, “and it was just delightful-after all, it was written by [legendary film composer and arranger] John Williams, and I thought, ‘This has all the elements I’m looking for.’ So I just sort of indexed it away, and when I started thinking about this project, I was searching for music that would be warm and enveloping. That’s when I remembered this song.” (Few others did; this is its debut cover recording). Continue reading