Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
One of the reasons I love jazz . . .
Jan P. Dennis | Monument, CO USA | 10/04/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
". . . is because a somewhat obscure, though prodigiously talented, artist like Richie Cole can occasionally make an absolutely killer record. Cole, an alto player gifted with a stunning personal presence on his instrument, seems to have always struggled to find just the right musical context to operate out of. Well, he's found it on this record.Although the music's kinda all over the place, oscillating between briskly reworked standards like "Sunday in New York" and "If Ever I Would Leave You," funky originals like "Doing the Jungle Walk" and "Take the Cole Train," and breezy Latin-tinged numbers like "Trade Winds" and "Rainbow Lady," they're linked by Cole's "signature" alto blowing and a deeply swinging sensibility. Especially noteworthy is the "Grazing in the Grass" groove of "Trade Winds," the joyousness of "Take the Cole Train," the tender treatment "If Ever I Should Leave You" gets, and the playful reading of "Peggy's Blue Skylight."I also really like Andy Narell's steel-drum playing on three of the selections, proving he's perfectly at home in a straight-ahead jazz context such as this. Vic Juris also gets high marks for his soulful solo on "Peggy's Blue Skylight," as well as his thoughtful comping throughout. A surprise for me was MUSO, the Mega-Universal Saxophone Orchestra--Cole overdubbing two altos, two tenors, and two baritones--on three numbers.Finally, the piano-sax duet of "America the Beautiful" seems uncanilly apt in face of 9/11/01. Rendered in a heartfelt, yet completely unsentimental, manner, the song takes on an unexpected depth and poignancy.Nothing earth-shaking going on here. Just honest, professional musicianship graced by the magic that occasionally and serendipitously elevates such sessions to some kind of aural paradise. Definitely worth the investment of a few bucks."
IT WAS A RAINY NIGHT IN NINETEEN EIGHTY-EIGHT...
STEPHEN T. McCARTHY | a Mensa-donkey in Phoenix, Airheadzona. | 09/04/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"...and back East, the underDOdGers were performing miracles - publicly humiliating the cocky New York Mets. I was working the night watch in the City Of Angels. Angels my patoot! I was parked on a dark side street watching the rain pelt my windshield and listening to that cat blow his alto. It gave great meaning to the rain. His notes bruised my heart like a set of brass knuckles to the jaw! "That was RICHIE COLE with IF EVER I WOULD LEAVE YOU from his latest release, SIGNATURE," the whiskey-voiced disc jockey told me over the thunder clap.
I immediately turned the engine over and spun a u-turn. Fishtailing on the slick street, I nearly flattened a drenched and darting tomcat. I could see in his eyes that we were both searching for the same thing : redemption. Or just a warm place to spend this cold night. I negotiated the sedan through the neon light-splashed concrete jungle boulevards. There was an empty parking space right in front of the record shop. They must have expected me. I pulled my fedora down and the collar on my trench coat up as I approached the clerk. "John Doe," I said. He reached under the counter and came up with a battered, black briefcase. "I know, Mr. Doe. Now blow!" he said pushing it at me. The rain had let up and I sped home.
Making sure that I had not been followed, I climbed the dilapidated staircase to my dark, shabby apartment. I poured a tumbler of amber tonic, and lit a cigarette before removing the cd from the briefcase. I pushed 'Track seven - repeat' and sat back. With the beginning of the piano intro, lightning flashed, and the rain resumed right on cue. The cool cat, Cole, hit that cascading note in the very same moment that the bourbon hit my bloodstream. There was nothing left to do now but wait. The dame was late. As usual. But I knew she would be here soon enough. We'd see a REAL storm then!*
*And that's the true story of how I came by Richie Cole's, SIGNATURE. Give or take a cigarette and a tomcat or two.
(In the liner notes of this underrated little gem, our host tells us that "This album was composed and arranged in every airport bar from San Francisco to Juneau to New York to Helsinki to Kajanni to Copenhagen to Los Angeles to Auckland to Brisbane to Darwin to Gove to Perth to Melbourne to Sydney to Papeete and back..."
Right away you know this is going to be good because nothing bad ever came out of an airport bar [except a few hangovers maybe, but those were deserved.]
This collection is for those who like their jazz with pizazz! The highlights for me are SUNDAY IN NEW YORK with its snappy guitar and piano solos by Vic Juris & Tee Carson. The Pacific sea breeze-inflected, steel drum-laced, TRADE WINDS [which could just as easily have been titled SUNDAY ON VENICE BEACH.] And the nearly equally breezy, RAINBOW LADY. The real head-turner, however, is the emotionally heartwrenching and melodically gorgeous, IF EVER I WOULD LEAVE YOU. It remains one of my very favorite instrumentals, and I defy you to find a more sublime soundtrack for a rain-soaked evening. That's what sold me on it! [And yes, I really did buy it within 10 minutes of hearing it played on my car radio!]
The odd man out is the two and a half minute, AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL. I've never figured out why this piece was tacked on as a coda. My suspicion has always been that Mr. Cole's final flight was delayed and he was forced to wait just one scotch and soda too long at the airport bar. Oh well, no harm done. It was nothing that three Excedrin wouldn't cure.
By the way, please be sure to check out the well-written review posted here by J. Dennis. He has good taste and nice penmanship.)"