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Richie Cole: The Man With the Horn (2007)

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Richie Cole: The Man With the Horn How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Richie Cole mislaid the tapes to this 1981 session long ago, finally running across them in his basement while looking for something else a quarter-century later. His working band at the time included Philippine pianist Bobby Enriquez (whom the alto saxophonist gave the nickname "The Wildman" for his frenetic playing upon hearing him for the first time in a Hawaiian hotel lobby), guitarist Bruce Forman, bassist Marshall Hawkins and drummer Scott Morris. This session actually predates his Alive! at the Village Vanguard (Muse, 1981) by a few weeks, making it the first recording with this lineup.

While Cole doesn't explain why it was not released at the time (probably the usual trouble of trying to get a label interested), it will reward listeners who investigate it. There is a heavy dose of fiery bop with energetic takes of Charlie Parker's "Confirmation" and Duke Pearson's "Jeannine," plus the spirited "Um Ummm" jointly credited to Cole and Enriquez. The band also plays a rhapsodic treatment of the ballad "Penthouse Serenade" and takes a sentimental stroll through the old warhorse "Peg o' My Heart."

Cole switches to tenor sax for a strutting, R&B- flavored "Easy Street" and the lush title track. Enriquez is featured alone in a romp through "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue," giving him a chance to show off a bit, though his detour into "Three Blind Mice" and other pieces don't exactly put him in the ranks of Art Tatum. Sometimes putting one's house in order pays unexpected dividends, as jazz fans will be just as delighted with Cole's discovery as he was.

Track Listing: Confirmation; Adios; Penthouse Serenade; New York Afternoon; Peg o' My Heart; Save Your Love for Me; Jeannine; Easy Street; Man with a Horn; Slaughter on Tenth Avenue; Um Ummm.

Personnel: Richie Cole: alto and tenor saxophone; Bobby Enriquez: piano; Bruce Forman: electric guitar; Marshall Hawkins: bass; Scott Morris: drums.

Record Label: Jazz Excursion Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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