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. He attended Northwestern University, where he explored modern classical music for the saxophone under the tutelage of internationally recognized educator Fred Hemke. While in undergraduate school, this gifted musician was a semi-finalist in the National Foundation for the Advancement in the Arts and one of three finalists in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition and was awarded the privilege of performing Tableaux De Provence by Paule Maurice with the CSO. Cole went on to earn his MBA which paved the way in his being appointed to Professor at the prestigious McNally Smith College of Music – a position which he maintains today.
Steve has six CDs in his catalog and has previously recorded 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 first project for the label entitled Moonlight is a collection of classic pop songs and standards set amidst an orchestral backdrop. The project includes such iconic songs as the Bacharach & David penned The Look of Love, folk songs Cry Me a River, Shenandoah, The Long and Winding Road (Beatles), Undun (Guess Who) and Close Your Eyes (James Taylor) to name a few. In addition to the strings, the arrangements include tastefully placed harp, woodwinds and tempered brass. The supporting rhythm section is comprised of Mike Logan (Will Downing) on keyboards, Russell Ferrante (Yellowjackets) piano and Steve Rodby (Pat Metheny Group) on bass. The string arrangements were provided by the very talented composer/arranger Michael Cunningham.
Cole began his professional career, playing sessions and club dates wherever possible; he recorded with blues legend Junior Wells and began playing, writing and producing with Atlantic Records artists Brian Culbertson. His visibility at the label grew, and soon Cole signed his own deal with Atlantic. He released his debut disc, Stay Awhile, in 1998; it yielded the hits “Where the Night Begins,” “When I Think of You” and “Say It Again” and earned Cole a Prism Award for Best New Artist at the 2000 Oasis Smooth Jazz Awards. Additionally, Steve has toured and/or recording with Boz Scaggs, Larry Carlton, Jeff Lorber Brian Culbertson, Freddie Cole, Cyrus Chestnut, KMFDM, Rick Braun and is a founding member, along with Jeff Kashiwa and Kim Waters of The Sax Pack.
“I am so anxious to have the opportunity to present this new project to audiences in live theater type settings where I will have the chance to connect with them in an emotional way, providing a memorable night of first class music for all to enjoy,” Steve expounds. “The legacy of popular music in an orchestral setting is timeless and I am quite fortunate to be able to present my artistry in this fashion.”
The orchestra fine tunes their instruments, the lights dim, Steve Cole walks onto the stage and within moments you find yourself immersed in a captivating sonic landscape. “To me, the new project is so refined yet seemingly completely accessible – leaving me slightly vulnerable in how I approach the melodies to these timeless classic songs.” he confesses. “At this point in my career it was important to document something that will be as relevant ten to twenty years from now as it is today – and it’s quite possible, we may have accomplished just that.”