Clubby “Metro” will be the first track serviced to radio
Focusing on performance, improvisation and really playing from the heart & soul, fueled by the metropolitan sounds and influences of his hometown of Chicago, saxman Steve Cole will release his fifth album, True, on November 21st on the Narada Jazz/Blue Note Label Group record label. Cole produced this engaging record that sets the bar high on each song. Prefacing the album release will be the servicing to smooth jazz radio of the house music-inspired “Metro,” which goes for adds on October 23rd.
With a title that takes on a host of meanings, True signifies a return to innocence for Cole, going back to the roots of the music that touched him during his formative years. Recalling Grover Washington Jr., David Sanborn, Spyro Gyra, George Benson and others, Cole also couldn’t help from being influenced by the music from his own backyard and the iconic artists who have emerged from Chicago, such as Quincy Jones, Curtis Mayfield, Rufus, and house music. After writing or co-authoring nine new songs, Cole sought musicians of the highest level whom he could “feel, people who truly care and bring the kind of magic that can only happen organically.” Some of those special players were Jeff Golub, Steve Rodby, David Mann, Ricky Peterson, Lenny Castro and Khari Parker.
“People want an honest, human portrayal of the music, music that is truly what you’re about naturally,” explained Cole. “I wanted to focus on giving a unique performance on each track and really playing. How a musician improvises when soloing off the melody reveals the true heart & soul of the artist and the depth of their artistry. I wanted the music on this record to be more expressive, something that people can feel authentically.”
True is a well-crafted album from beginning to end that was recorded as close to “live” as possible. It opens big with “Bounce,” as massive Chicago horns blast you with a sweaty dose of deep-fried funk. The sultry and sophisticated “Cote Seine,” featuring Rodby’s nimble basswork, adeptly blends contemporary and be-bop jazz riffs. A couple salutes to music legends are also standouts: “Curtis” is a soulful nod to Mayfield, while “Just A Natural Thing” pays tribute to Jones. Writing pop anthems like “Take Me” comes easily to Cole. Layers of horns funk up “Something About You.” “Metro” boasts an extended sax solo that’s both expressive and functional. “Closer” is an unabashedly “cuddle up close” slow jam. Cole plays both soprano and tenor saxes on “Come With Me,” in addition to wielding acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards and synth bass.
After studying modern classical music for saxophone at Northwestern University, Cole earned an MBA at the University of Chicago. Making his debut in 1998 with the Atlantic Records release, Stay Awhile, he scored three radio hits out of the box that helped him garner the 2000 Oasis Smooth Jazz Prism Award as Best New Artist. Subsequent albums – Between Us, NY LA, and Spin - have also spawned radio hits; he’s amassed four #1 singles to date. Cole has toured and/or recorded with Brian Culbertson, Junior Wells, Boz Scaggs, Larry Carlton, Jeff Lorber, Freddie Cole, Cyrus Chestnut, KMFDM, Rick Braun and others.
Steve Cole’s True contains the following songs:
“Something About You”
“Just A Natural Thang”
“Come With Me”