|February 1, 2011|
February 01, 2011
Review By: Andrew Reeves
Steve Cole: Passion for "Moonlight"
Moonlight, the latest album by Steve Cole, gives jazz lovers yet another delectable treasure and pays tribute to a group of legendary songwriters that revolutionized pop music. Though each track flows naturally into the next, Cole reveals that selecting the music was the hardest part of making the record. “I had a lot of help” he expresses, collaborating with musicians Steve Rodby, Russell Farrante, composer/arranger Michael Cunningham, as well as The Millennium Chamber Players of Chicago. The progeny of this combined effort is an album that demonstrates Cole’s innate ability to infuse timeless classics with a sound that is unmistakably his own.
Although Cole possesses the artistic know-how to pull off just about anything he sets his mind to, the Chicago native confesses a measure of vulnerability with this project. “I wanted to do something unique with the songs” he explains. “It’s one thing to love a piece of music, and quite another to create your own interpretation of it”. Covering songs penned by Burt Bacharach and John Lennon, along with an arrangement of the popular hit Angel by Sarah McLachlan, Moonlight creates the perfect union between the jazz and pop genres.
A seasoned musician with more than a decade of experience, Cole attributes his success to the training and education he received. After earning an MBA degree, Cole was able to utilize his knowledge of the music industry to negotiate his first contract with Atlantic Records. “Music is a business” says Cole; a concept he now dedicates himself to sharing with the next generation. He served as professor of Music Business Management at Columbia College before accepting a position at McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, Minnesota. “I teach my students to have an unencumbered outlook on creativity” he explains. This philosophy is an essential ingredient for a musician who continually perfects his sound with every record that bears his name.
As an artist who finds particular enjoyment in composing original material, the process of creating Moonlight required a slightly different approach. “Michael Cunningham and I talked about tonality and the arrangement of the songs” Steve reflects. The tangible act of writing was replaced with contemplative consideration toward the structure of each song. “It was much different than writing all the songs” Cole recalls, “much more organic.” Moonlight will provide a listening experience unlike anything Steve Cole has produced to date. “I want the record to be a warm blanket” says Steve. “I want it to be luxurious. Perfect.” An album embodying the same passion and dedication to the craft that has defined this gifted artist’s exceptional career could never be anything less.
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