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Cole Jacobs — Atomic Escalator

May 14, 2011

So, now we try on for size a debut release by one Cole Jacobs, a multi-instrumentalist whose primary instrument here is guitar but who shows skill on trumpet and keys, as well. He offers up a modest 5-track collection of contemporary jazz goodies called Atomic Escalator (how’s that for an interesting title?)

I can say that the five tracks are impressive and solid. The opening track, “Lorelei,” is catchy, rhythmic, and nicely exotic with its Brazilian flavor. The piano’s authoritative presence, courtesy of Karen Hernandez, and the soothing vocals by Maria Jacobs, are light and airy, and you can tell it was a fun piece for all involved.  That’s followed by a steppin’ mid-tempo bluesy guitar-led ditty with oomph.  Jacobs does double duty here as he charms on both guitar and keys. He’s offered a great big hand by saxophonist Ross Walters and vocalist Calabria Foti, both of whom do a superb job of keeping the groove intact.

Considering that Jacobs obviously had to indulge in some considerable editing, mixing, etc., his product shows no signs of overtampering or mediocre monotony. The verses and choruses serve as backdrops for some pretty clever solo performances by sax, guitar, trumpet, and keys.  To that end, one’s focus is pretty much on melody, which was probably his aim.  A good strategy and one that has paid off for many others who’ve done well in this business.

While nothing here jumps out as a nail-you-to-the-wall jam, it’s all very nicely done, very nicely arranged. It’s material that soothes and will surely serenade you along a coastline with your head bopping, your finger tapping the wheel, and with an urge to press the repeat button. It’s suave and unpretentious. It’s subtle but hardly voiceless.  Atomic Escalator. It’s anybody’s guess as to where that title originates. It certainly doesn’t fit the luscious melodies it is to introduce.  Still, don’t let the label fool you.  Whatever the wrapping, I think you’ll happily and easily opt for what’s inside. – Ronald Jackson