You are here:Home>CD Reviews>Smooth Jazz - CD Reviews>Unknown by Steve Cole

Unknown by Steve Cole

Debuting in 1998 with his album Stay A While, winning four awards for singles on the disc plus the Prism Award for the Best New Artist at the Oasis Smooth Jazz Awards ceremony in 2000, it seems Steve Cole already achieved the dream of a lifetime. But Cole felt compelled to go one step further. What Cole really wanted to do is "simply play."

Collaborating with contemporary artists on several occasions, Jeff Lorber, Brian Culbertson, Rick Braun, Larry Carlton, Peter White and Boz Scaggs, Cole has paid his dues. He listened, he learned and now he’s ready to be True to Steve Cole. In this watershed album, Cole lets down his hair and goes for it, showing his talent in featured solos-- blending textures, melodies and awesome extremes.

Growing up in Chicago, inspired by his father’s musicianship and his LP collection, Cole began his training on clarinet, later gravitating toward tenor sax, playing in clubs with such hot artists as Brian Culbertson and Bob Mamet. Cole states, "A Lot of the substance of a player is evident once they get off the melody and start improvising." That’s exactly what Cole does on True, adding fresh notes, compelling hooks and smooth grooves.

Opening the album with "Bounce," Cole shows his hometown flavor in a swinging, spirited groove guaranteed to grab attention. "Cote` Sienne" curves a bit towards a sensual, deep track with long stretches on sax backed by violins and soft drum beats. Changing to the sound of soul, "Curtis" pays respect to the one of a kind Curtis Mayfield, the man who infused funk into midnight soul moves. "Just a Natural Thang" keeps the spirit moving. Still funky, still cool, and still hot, it's a tribute to the wondrous Quincy Jones. Moving on to "Take Me." Cole brings together more background sounds before spiriting out on sax with a smooth, upbeat, almost pop rock feeling.

"Something About You" reverberates with classy riffs, choice tones, searing stretches on sax. Changing course on "Metro" with an even more up-tempo rhythm, Cole brings more of the Chicago music to his CD. A softer, smoother, "Closer" highlights the soulfulness of Cole’s natural abilities as he plays in ‘flow’ with the softness of the background rhythm. "Come With Me" seems such a fitting closure as seductive grooves and a sensual melody beckon the soul to yield to the sax man’s golden chant.

Steve Cole has accomplished his goal of expressing his real voice with True.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Steve Cole
  • CD Title: Unknown
  • Genre: Smooth Jazz
  • Year Released: 2006
  • Record Label: Narada Jazz
  • Tracks: Bounce, Cote` Seine, Curtis, Just A Natural Thang, Take Me, Something About You, Metro, Closer, Come With Me
  • Musicians: Steve Cole — tenor & alto saxophones, piano, keyboards, producer Dave Hiltebrand — bass, piano, acoustic guitar Tim Pierce — acoustic & electric guitars Michael Thompson — acoustic & electric guitars Ricky Peterson — Hammond B3 Todd Sucherman — drums Lenny Castro — percussion Tom Hipskind — drums Craig Bauer — acoustic guitar Steve Rodby — acoustic bass
  • Rating: Five Stars
Login to post comments