KJAZZ Radio UK welcomes a young man who at the age of 18, reached No.11 on the Billboard Jazz Songs chart. with a song “5th Avenue,”from the album “A Journey of One”. He also signed with Cutmore Records at the same age.
As a self proclaimed renegade jazz journalist and critical mercenary Nicholas has always had a problem with the concept of paying your dues to make an impact in the music business.
In short… Length of time and competency do not necessarily go hand in hand. Pianist Nicholas Cole was first signed by Cutmore Records at the age of 18 and with the technical proficiency and artistic vision of those twice his age.
Cole’s first major label debut explores the endless possibilities within contemporary instrumental music without all the baggage and boredom that comes with the format driven sub genre some refer to as “smooth jazz.” Steve Cole, Steve Oliver and saxophone phenom Vincent Ingala give an instant stamp of credibility and offer up the right amount of pop and vitality to sidestep some of the sonic pitfalls that literally caused the bottom to drop out of the smooth jazz market. The first logical question is who does Cole sound like?
Nicholas Cole of course…Nicholas Cole walks a harmonic tightrope as an instrumentalist with a Bob James meets Herbie Hancock type vibe that is harmonically a step ahead of his contemporaries. Endless Possibilities the release is somewhere between Brian Culbertson and Kirk Whalum. Bottom line is the Nicholas Cole is the real deal.
“Please Don’t Say No” from the CD ‘Endless Possibilities’ features guitarist Tim Bowman, a mid tempo flow of layers of texture and a lyrical sense of purpose that sets the tone for the entire release. Bowman is first rate and perhaps the most underrated guitarist working the smoother side of the jazz street. “Just One Night” with Steve Cole is more introspective soulful number with an intriguing harmonic development. Cole is a perfect fit for this tune and adds the right counterpoint to another rock solid number. “In It To Win It” is buoyant tune which displays a keen sense of melody and an infectious groove or to borrow a phrase from one of the label executives, ” more hooks than a fisherman’s hat.” Predictability of sub par vocals seems to be the number one pet peeve of this style of contemporary instrumental jazz while “Beyond The Stars” is the only vocal track on the release. A finely crafted tune that Lynne Fiddmont does exceptionally well with. Crossover potential? While not normally a fan of most vocals on releases that walk that contemporary tightrope, Fiddmont is a vocalist I would love to hear more from. The release closes with “Tatiana” which is a beautiful melody in search of a fine feature film.
Nicholas Cole is a prolific instrumental talent, composer and shows off his talent as Co-Producer of this contemporary gem. The overall sound quality of this release is equally as impressive as the record itself. There is a deceptively subtle ambient quality and a warmer more open ended sound as compared to some of Cole’s contemporaries. My concern would be that Cole might spread himself too thin but Cutmore Records and the entire Trippin ‘N’ Rhythm family place a high priority on artistic development so my concern is minimal at best.
This release could slip past you and that would be a shame. Some people have written that once Cole gets some more mileage on him then think how good he will be. I would rather celebrate how good he is now. Cole has mad skills and Endless Possibilities should be considered his coming out party!
Nicholas Cole is part of the future of modern jazz, a more evolved sound for the time and the future is now!