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‘Gratitude’ CD Review

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For those not in the know, known for consistently cranking out chart-topping singles that deploy big vibrant pop hooks, contemporary jazz saxophonist Steve Cole is actually much more than that; for he is also a professor/adviser of music business at the University of St. Thomas.

The Chicago native exploded onto the scene in 1998 with the album Stay Awhile that was produced by fellow Chicagoan Brian Culbertson. The disc scored two #1 hits and earned Cole the Oasis Smooth Jazz Award for best new artist shortly before his sophomore set, Between Us, was released in 2000.

His catchy singles made him an instant radio favorite and he cranked them out with regularity on subsequent albums NY LA (2003), Spin (2005), True (2006), Moonlight (2011), Pulse (2013), and then Turn It Up in 2016.

It’s during the times when we’re confronted with life’s hardest struggles that we learn to appreciate the humanity around us. On his latest album, Gratitude, Cole offers thanks for the people who’ve helped see him through some of his tough times – the loved ones, the musicians and collaborators who rallied around, and the often-nameless professionals whose job is to help and to heal.

Releasing on July 26th, 2019 via Artistry Music / Mack Avenue Records, Gratitude arrives on the heels of a health scare in Cole’s family.

The successful battle left the saxophonist feeling rejuvenated, with a renewed sense of hope and faith in his fellow humans.

"Going through something like this," Cole says of the recent health scare, "and seeing all these marvelous people who care so much about others has really imbued my music with optimism and gratitude."

Ergo, that depth of feeling shines through on the album’s ten tracks, which joyously spotlight Cole’s gift for infectious grooves, soulful melodies, and vibrant pop hooks.

1. 'Good News Day'
2. 'Neo Sol'
3. 'Gratitude'
4. 'Soho'
5. 'Starting Over'
6. 'Love Ballad'
7. 'Five6oh83'
8. 'Can't Get Enough'
9. 'Let's Go!'
10. 'Toronto'

The first track from his brand new ninth album is the upbeat, addictively funky and definitely the only track you would need playing in your open top car on a summer drive 'Good News Day' and that's backed by both the gentle jazz lite flow of 'Neo Sol' and the quieter title track ballad 'Gratitude.'

The beat gets turned back up on the finger-snappin' beauty 'Soho' which is backed seamlessly by both the gently distorted slap bass and guitar of 'Stating Over' and the truly lush, and aptly titled 'Love Ballad.'

Bringing back the funk for 'Five6oh83' that's followed by one of my own personal favorites here, the windswept hipsway of 'Can't Get Enough.'

The album then rounds out in some style with Cole showcasing his immense sax talents on the fun 'Let's Go!' with the laid back ease of 'Toronto' bringing this quite stunning new album to a close.


Read the full piece from: Exclusive Magazine

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Gratitude

Steve Cole #: ART7064 RELEASED: 07/26/19