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Ny La

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Album Review

Burgeoning smooth jazz superstar Steve Cole continues to bridge the gap between pop-jazz and classic R&B on his third studio album, NY LA. Featuring strong melodic statements and truly funky keyboards via the likes of Brian Culbertson and Marquis "Hami" Dair, NY LA is a moody and solid affair. From the disco-influenced "Off Broadway," which harkens back to the best work of the Crusaders, to the Donald Byrd-esque "Interlude IV," tenor saxophonist Cole deftly crosses the boundary from jazz soloist to R&B heavyweight. More Grover Washington, Jr. than Kenny G., Cole manages to keep things organic and simple — despite the use of programmed drum beats and synthesizers — a lesson some of his contemporaries could learn. Also adding depth are the vocal tracks featuring the crisply soulful Mauli B., whose star-making performance on "Every Little Thing" is a highlight on this already stellar release.

Biography

Born: 17 August 1970 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The title of Steve Cole's third recording, NY LA, may trip on the East Coast-meets-West Coast hipness factor of his fresh and crackling brand of smooth sax jazz, but the soul in his music definitely has more than a few touches of the R&B/blues influence of his hometown, Chicago. The saxman's trademark sound is a sizzling mix of modern funk textures and neo-soul sensibilities mixed with quick, catchy hooks and feisty horn textures on the choruses. He's primarily a tenor player, but keeps the listener...
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Ny La, Steve Cole
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