With his gorgeous, classically trained tone and an ear for lyrical melody, Cole most closely resembles a vocalist, emphasizing interpretive phrasing and direct emotion. On Moonlight, he has found the perfect setting for this bel canto technique-a symphonic orchestra playing inspired arrangements by Michael Cunningham, making his splashy major-label debut as an orchestral arranger. In addition to the strings, the arrangements include tastefully placed harp, woodwinds and tempered brass. The supporting rhythm section is composed of Mike Logan (Will Downing) on keyboards, Russell Ferrante (Yellowjackets) on piano and Steve Rodby (Pat Metheny Group) on bass.
With Moonlight, Cole comes full circle back to his first success as a young musician, performing with strings and winds. Reenergized by his desire to recapture his roots and impelled by the melody of Moonlight, he has produced a record full of strong emotion and genuine craftsmanship. The interaction of his saxophone with the intimate arrangements has allowed him to create a modern collection of lovely cameos in the classical concerto traditionwhile at the same time charting a new direction for the next stage of his career. “For me, it’s always a lot more fun when people get what you’re doing,” says Cole, and in a nutshell that statement describes his approach to music; he has crafted his style with communication foremost among his objectives. Many of the greatest jazz musicians have sought the same goal, from Louis Armstrong to Count Basie to Stan Getz to Miles Davis. And while Cole would not compare himself to any of these giants, he has nonetheless absorbed the basic lesson of their music-reaching beyond his craft to communicate with his listeners.
The orchestra members tune their instruments, the lights dim, Steve Cole walks onto the stageand within moments you are immersed in a captivating sonic landscape. “At this point in my career it was important to document something that will be as relevant 10 to 20 years from now as it is today-and it’s quite possible we may have accomplished just that.”
Steve Cole · Moonlight
Release Date: February 1, 2011