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Holly Cole has remained an acquired taste for many listeners who like to slot artists into pre-determined categories. And that’s not quite fair. Rising in awareness and not quite acceptance among jazz enthusiasts throughout the nineties, Cole has continued to perform the tunes that intrigue herthat is, tunes with meaningful lyrics and tunes which offer opportunities for creative interpretation.
The Best Of Holly Cole isn’t going to change anyone’s opinions about her. In fact, the CD retrospective of her work on Blue Note probably will entrench opinions even more firmly. For the choices of the tracks included on the CD are consistent in their presentation of Cole’s quirkiness and her interest in divergent forms of music joined by the common strength of lyrics.
Indeed, some of the tunes are meant to take the listener aback by the conclusion of the musical argument that the lyrics develop: “You’ve been cheating...spending your nights on the town. Who keeps on loving you when you’ve been lying? Well, God does, but I don’t. And God will, but I won’t. That’s the difference between God and me.” If that sentiment may sound countrified, well, it is. It’s Lyle Lovett. She sings songs by Elvis Costello, the Beatles and the composers of the soundtrack for The Lion King, Richard and Robert Sherman. And guess what? None of the tunes are considered to be jazz standards, unless you include “Blame It On My Youth.”
Still, Cole’s odd appeal and the strength of her voice, combined with the empathetic support of Aaron Davis and David Piltch, create a likeability combined with an improvisational approach centered on the meaning of the lyrics.
Including tracks from her six Blue Note CD’s, The Best Of Holly Cole signifies that she remains a consistent and original performer following her own muse. And the CD signifies that she retains the loyal support of the label, indicating that we will be hearing more from her in the future.
Track Listing: Trust In Me; Calling You; God Will; Blame It On My Youth; I Can See Clearly Now; Don
Personnel: Holly Cole, vocals; Aaron Davis, piano; David Piltch, bass; David Lindley, Kevin Breit, guitar; Jim Cox, B-3 organ; Douglas Perry, viola; Anne Lederman, violin; Dougie Bowne, Mark Kelso, Dean Parks, drums; Iki Levy, Helik Hadar, drums & programming; The Colettes, background vocals
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.