All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review


Richie Cole: Latin Lover

Rob Rosenblum By

Sign in to view read count
Last year alto saxophonist/arranger Richie Cole released an album called the Many Minds of Richie Cole. Latin Lover could easily have carried the same title. There are indeed many minds in Cole's head— often seemingly incompatible with each other. Several of them are in this CD.

Cole was grabbed out of Berklee School of Music by Buddy Rich, who needed a replacement for Art Pepper in his big band in 1969 and after being featured with Rich and shortly after with Lionel Hampton he set out on his own. He toured frequently with vocalist Eddie Jefferson until the latter's untimely death and has built his reputation on being an unpredictable jokester who plays serious jazz with a smile.

Latin Lover continues Cole's brand of humor, starting off with the unlikely tune, "If I Only Had A Brain from the Wizard of Oz." On top of that, he defies the somewhat melancholy theme, kicking it into up tempo with a Latin rhythm. Oz fans may be offended, but Cole pulls it off well, with a sharp and adventurous solo. Who knew this song could be considered for a jazz album!

He keeps the heat up with "Celito Lindo" and then slows it down with a pensive "L'Eclipse."

Cole reverts once again to his sense of humor by digging into "The Lonely Bull," made famous by the Tiajuana Brass and the vocal group and guitar behind him reinforces the corny essence of the tune. "Serenata" begins with a bull fight anthem with all the usual Latin flair only to magically transform into a quiet and slow tango.

"Laughter in the Rain" allows Cole to duff his cap to his unaccountable appreciation for 1950's pop music. The song, written by Neil Sedaka, has all the earmarks of the era, but with more of a Latin tinge than the original.

"Girl From Carnegie" is essentially "The Girl From Ipanema" with some melodic revisions. It begins with a Jobim like guitar intro and continues with a light Latin tempo.

There are two outliers, and they are the gems on this album.

The first is "Harlem Nocturne." Cole shows his most sensitive and emotive side on this. He wraps himself deep within the very poignant sadness of the tune. It is shear beauty.

The other is the album's final song, "Amost Like Being In Love." Cole owns this song. He plays it frequently on gigs and while he has probably performed it thousands of times, he just screams this song out. It is the most up-tempo tune of the set. It begins with a subtle Latin background, and then switches to straight ahead jazz, while Cole launches into his best solo of the recording. He plumbs the entire range of the alto, sometimes veering away from the changes before snapping back in. Guitarist Eric Susoeff and pianist Kevin Moore maintain the intensity before Cole bursts back on the scene with a couple bebop quotes and then back to the melody, with a few showy runs thrown in, and finally a very abrupt ending.

Cole has moved from New Jersey to Pittsburgh a few years ago and has become immersed in the jazz scene there, no doubt raising the level a bit. He has surrounded himself with talented locals and those are the people he chooses to record with.

Cole's band of Susoeff and Moore, as well as bassist Mark Perna and drummer Vince Taglieri, may not be the big names that were on Cole's early Muse recordings, but it is a very compatible group. Their familiarity allows Cole to spruce up the songs with some simple, but effective arrangements, which raises the level beyond that of a good jam session. You can hear from the interplay that these musicians know the leader and can respond to his every whimsy.

Overall, this is a fine jazz album, well written, well recorded and performed with solid soloists, with Cole playing with his usual inspired consistency. My only criticism is that there are too many back to back medium slow tempo songs.

Track Listing: Track Listing: If I Only Had A Brain; Cielito; L'Eclipse de Lune; Lonely Bull; Serenata; Laughter in the Rain; Girl from Carnegie; Harlem Nocturne; Island Breeze; Indicted for Love; Malibu Breeze; Almost Like Being in Love

Personnel: Richie Cole: alto sax; Eric Susoeff: acoustic & electric guitar; Kevin Moore: piano & Fender Rhodes; Mark Perna: bass; Vince Taglieri: drums; Rick Matt: baritone(4); Nancy Kepner: vocal (4).

Title: Latin Lover | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Richie Cole Presents


Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

What a Wonderful World

What a Wonderful World

Richie Cole
Come Sunday - My Kind of...

CD/LP/Track Review
CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
Read more articles
Cannonball (Richie Cole)

Cannonball (Richie...

Richie Cole Presents

Have Yourself An Alto Madness Christmas

Have Yourself An Alto...

Richie Cole Presents

Latin Lover

Latin Lover

Richie Cole Presents

Richie Cole Plays Ballads & Love Songs

Richie Cole Plays...

Self Produced

The Man With the Horn

The Man With the Horn

Jazz Excursion Records


Related Articles

Read Shades CD/LP/Track Review
by Doug Collette
Published: October 20, 2018
Read Putumayo Presents: Ska Around the World CD/LP/Track Review
Putumayo Presents: Ska Around the World
by Jim Trageser
Published: October 20, 2018
Read Pattern Recognition CD/LP/Track Review
Pattern Recognition
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 20, 2018
Read Just This CD/LP/Track Review
Just This
by Chris Mosey
Published: October 20, 2018
Read Live at Sowieso CD/LP/Track Review
Live at Sowieso
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 20, 2018
Read Displaced Diaspora CD/LP/Track Review
Displaced Diaspora
by Chris May
Published: October 19, 2018
Read "Sailors' Tales 1970-1972" CD/LP/Track Review Sailors' Tales 1970-1972
by John Kelman
Published: November 11, 2017
Read "Najwa" CD/LP/Track Review Najwa
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 7, 2017
Read "You're Driving Me Crazy" CD/LP/Track Review You're Driving Me Crazy
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 23, 2018
Read "Yequm" CD/LP/Track Review Yequm
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 24, 2017
Read "This World of Dew" CD/LP/Track Review This World of Dew
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: July 27, 2018
Read "The Sum Of My Pardon" CD/LP/Track Review The Sum Of My Pardon
by Jim Olin
Published: June 22, 2018