STEVE COLE, MOONLIGHT


Romantic jazz recordings can be fuzzy propositions. Not so with saxophonist Steve Cole, who fronts a fine band that includes pianist Mike Logan (Will Downing), bassist Steve Rodby (Pat Metheny) and Russell Ferrante (Yellowjackets), along with real strings provided by The Millennium Chamber Players of Chicago. Cole is a genuine smoothie with a soft, buttery tone that’s served him well on five previous contemporary jazz CDs. At ease on tenor and soprano, Cole fuses gentle solos with rapturous wraparound orchestral accompaniment and the playlist is as cozy as it can be with songs by Alan and Marilyn Bergman, James Taylor, Burt Bacharach and McCartney and Lennon’s lush and moving “Long and Winding Road.” The album gets a lift with “Undun,” which is augmented by subtle synthesized programming, but it also wobbles on a formulaic “You Don’t Know Me,” where a brassy façade competes with Cole’s grittier sound. Consider “Moonlight” (Artistry Music) a fireplace record that’s mostly well stoked and sonically impressive. (9 tracks; 45:12 minutes)
   

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JAZZ IN SPACE: STEVE COLE, MOONLIGHT

Saturday, January 29, 2011

STEVE COLE, MOONLIGHT


Romantic jazz recordings can be fuzzy propositions. Not so with saxophonist Steve Cole, who fronts a fine band that includes pianist Mike Logan (Will Downing), bassist Steve Rodby (Pat Metheny) and Russell Ferrante (Yellowjackets), along with real strings provided by The Millennium Chamber Players of Chicago. Cole is a genuine smoothie with a soft, buttery tone that’s served him well on five previous contemporary jazz CDs. At ease on tenor and soprano, Cole fuses gentle solos with rapturous wraparound orchestral accompaniment and the playlist is as cozy as it can be with songs by Alan and Marilyn Bergman, James Taylor, Burt Bacharach and McCartney and Lennon’s lush and moving “Long and Winding Road.” The album gets a lift with “Undun,” which is augmented by subtle synthesized programming, but it also wobbles on a formulaic “You Don’t Know Me,” where a brassy façade competes with Cole’s grittier sound. Consider “Moonlight” (Artistry Music) a fireplace record that’s mostly well stoked and sonically impressive. (9 tracks; 45:12 minutes)
   

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