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Steve Cole – Turn It Up

June 25, 2016

One thing I’ve always loved about saxman Steve Cole’s style is the way he presents his material – with such soul and meticulous care in phrasing and “packaging.” Here on his latest release Turn It Up, he teams up with multi-instrumentalist/producer/arranger David Mann (who, in my opinion, happens to be one of the absolute best horn arrangers around) to produce some quality horn work and melodies that will definitely stick with you.

Cole is one of those true standout artists who really intrigue me with their deep expression of love for this music via their respective instruments. In Cole’s case, the sax really does become an extension of him, and he brings that through loud and clear on this and all of his previous recordings.

With Mann’s help – along with the likes of keys wizards James Lloyd of Pieces of a Dream fame, Nicholas Cole, Ricky Peterson, bassist Lamar Jones, and drummer Khari Parker (as well as fine contributions from guitarist Bernd Schoenhart and trumpeter Trevor Neumann), this is bound to be a can’t-miss venture.

Of the soul-soaked R&B grooves and a bit of that Chicago dance music here and there on the album, Cole states, “In the end, I really accomplished what I set out to do. The music reflects all of the diverse backgrounds and personalities that brought it to life. There was a lot of laughter and good times throughout this journey. I think that’s why I’ve got such a big smile on my face on the album cover. After all, it’s supposed to be fun…and it sure was!”

That’s quite evident when you listen to such feelin’-great jams as the title track, “She’s the One,” and melody-rich charmers like the James Lloyd-penned “Bright Side” (and that awesome horn harmony), and the wonderful rendition of Bobby Womack’s “Woman’s Gotta Have It,” along with other quality tunes here. A real keeper, this one! – Ronald Jackson