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Landing in Pittsburgh and Loving It Madly

Read "Landing in Pittsburgh and Loving It Madly" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

Now that his early mentor, Phil Woods as left the room, Richie Cole is arguably the most genuine acolyte of classic alto Bop tradition on the jazz scene today. With four albums released over the last four years, Cole is certainly letting it all fly. Always a player of terrific technical skills, Cole's work delivers consistent swing and a flair for the serendipitous. Stepping back a step and up to date, two fine albums are explored. Richie Cole ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Richie Cole: Cannonball

Read "Cannonball" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

With Cannonball, Richie Cole and his crew deliver fourteen selections, each of which is associated with the album's namesake, Julian Cannonball Adderley. Cole has admired Adderley since their meeting when Cole was a student at Berklee School of Music. The album is a terrific salute and it once more confirms Cole as a leading flamekeeper of the straight-ahead tradition of bop alto sax. Across the session, Cole is animated and energized and delivers his tributes with a ...

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Richie Cole: Cannonball

Read "Cannonball" reviewed by Rob Rosenblum

Richie Cole and Julian “Cannonball" Adderley. It's as natural as soap and water. In an interview on this site, Cole proclaimed that the famed jazz musician was his favorite altoist. Like Adderley, Cole can cover a wide range of music--from the hardest of hard bop to commercial ditties. And also like Adderley, for Cole the audience comes first. The two Charlie Parker influenced altoists never recorded together, although Cole did get to know Adderley casually. Meeting him and ...

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Richie Cole: Latin Lover

Read "Latin Lover" reviewed by Rob Rosenblum

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 ...

INTERVIEWS

Richie Cole: Blue Collar Bebopper

Read "Richie Cole: Blue Collar Bebopper" reviewed by Rob Rosenblum

Jazz alto saxophonist Richie Cole wants to reach out to you, whether you are the mayor of a highly popular tourist city or just a guy dropping over for a couple of beers. “I play for people," says Cole. “People are all the same. If they understand or want to understand jazz, I welcome them." Recently, Richie Cole spent a few days in jny: Charleston, South Carolina, winning over hundreds of new friends, with his friendly ...

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Richie Cole: Have Yourself An Alto Madness Christmas

Read "Have Yourself An Alto Madness Christmas" reviewed by Rob Rosenblum

Christmas music is a sort of sub genre of American pop, mostly maudlin and uninspiring in its lyrics, harmony and melody. Yet, it is a perennial magnet for jazz artists. On the other end of the spectrum is Richie Cole, a brash altoist and sort of a merry prankster bebop artist. Fans and critics alike have delighted in his ability to take the complex structures of the music of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie and mold them into ...

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Richie Cole: Have Yourself an Alto Madness Christmas

Read "Have Yourself an Alto Madness Christmas" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Yes, there are jazz musicians who earn more bread than Richie Cole, and others who rank higher in the popularity contests that double as polls. There aren't many, however, who have more fun making music than the well-traveled alto saxophonist who, late in life, has found a place to call home in Pittsburgh, PA. On Cole's superb new seasonal album, Have Yourself an Alto Madness Christmas, the warmth and happiness fairly burst from the leader's horn on ...

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Richie Cole: Richie Cole Plays Ballads & Love Songs

Read "Richie Cole Plays Ballads & Love Songs" reviewed by Jim Trageser

Alto saxophonist Richie Cole has made quite the career with his brand of hard bop, generally coming at melody almost as an unintended consequence of his heavy focus on improvisational interpretation. On his latest release--itself an unintended consequence of a recording date arriving without half the scheduled musicians able to attend--Cole taps into his inner Johnny Hodges. Caressing, gentle, lush, it is a side of Cole that's never been explored over a full album before. The ...

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Richie Cole: The Man With the Horn

Read "The Man With the Horn" reviewed by Ken Dryden

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 ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Richie Cole: A Wiser But Still Swingin' Soul

Read "Richie Cole: A Wiser But Still Swingin' Soul" reviewed by Samuel Chell

“Madness in great ones must not unwatch'd go." (William Shakespeare)

Alto saxophonist Richie Cole is the last of a breed--a fast and competitive musical gunslinger acquiring near-legendary status for his willingness to demonstrate his command of Charlie Parker's bebop language by taking on all comers at any speed--Billy the Kid packing an alto instead of a revolver.

The ready availability of Cole's recorded shoot-out with the indomitable Sonny Stitt (Just In Case You Forgot How Bad He Really ...

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Richie Cole and the Alto Madness Orchestra: Rise's Rose Garden

Read "Rise's Rose Garden" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Risë's Rose Garden is a compelling, if not profound, statement of Richie Cole's vision of “Alto Madness, the saxophonist's respectful allusion to the Sonny Rollins/John Coltrane lower reed affliction. The disc was recorded in the wake of Cole's wife's death last year--and if, as paraphrased by the late Will Durant, the greatest beauty is begat of heartbreak, then Risë's Rose Garden exists as a temporal definition of this process.

Like many of Cole's Alto Madness recordings, particularly those with larger ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Richie Cole and the Alto Madness Orchestra: Rise's Rose Garden

Read "Rise's Rose Garden" reviewed by Jack Bowers

There's often more in a package of music than meets the eye--or ear. I don't know how difficult it must have been for saxophonist Richie Cole to produce this album, but I can imagine. The Risë in the title is Cole's wife, who passed away last April, only a few weeks before the album was recorded. Risë Cole was fifty years old. One of Risë's--and Richie's--greatest pleasures lay in tending the rose garden that surrounded their home in Ewing Township, ...


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