LA Jazz Scene review

June 16th, 2016 by admin

Richie Cole is one of the top bebop-oriented jazz musicians to emerge during the past 50 years. While the altoist remains best known for his 1970s and ’80s recordings for the Muse label, he is still quite active and very much in his musical prime.

After a period living in Los Angeles, followed by short stays in San Antonio, Las Vegas, Chicago and Trenton, he has settled in Pittsburgh where he has become part of an active and viable jazz scene. Pittsburgh teams the altoist with top local players: Jeff Lashway or Patrick Whitehead on piano, guitarist Mark Lucas, Jeff Grubbs or Mark Perna on bass, drummer Reid Hoyson, and George Jones on congas. They perform three of Cole’s originals and five standards which typically include some offbeat material including “Flying Down To Rio” and “Tomorrow.”

This CD mostly consists of performances taken at relaxed medium-tempos plus a few ballads. While the program would have benefitted from the inclusion of some real cookers, Cole’s double-time lines and passionate playing make the music quite vital. The highpoint of the set is his lengthy exploration of “I’ll Be Seeing You” which is full of plenty of inventive ideas and honest emotions.

Pittsburgh features Richie Cole at the top of his game. It is available from Scott Yanow

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