"Bounce", the opening track of True, does just what it says on the tin; its a lively celebratory statement of intent on Cole's part who says that the one thing he really wanted to do on this album was "play". Better known for his smooth jazz albums, this almost-live-in-the–studio work sees him stretch out stylistically and improvise, but melody, catchy rhythms and colourful funky rhythms are never far away.
Chicago-born Cole sticks to his beloved tenor sax on most of the album's nine pieces, all in the four minute area, and adds some of his talents to keyboard programming and guitar as well as inviting a range of accomplished guest musicians to flesh out the sounds with keyboards, trumpet, horns and trombone. He cites among his inspirations Dave Brubeck, Grover Washington, David Sanbourn, George Benson and (US) Spyrogyra.
There is an honest, earthy quality to Steve's playing on this album and a connection to the great black American jazz musicians of the 40s and 50s, no more so than on his soulful tribute to follow Chicago boy Curtis Mayfield and the following track, "Just a Natural Thing". "Take Me" on the other hand seems to borrow the motif from Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill" when it opens and demonstrates the pop sensibilities which made his previous album Spin a success. A wonderful little touch of slide guitar on here as well lends it a country air.
Cole's family background (his father was a saxophonist too) has clearly shaped his love for jazz and his passion for the tenor sax is illustrated all over the album in the emotional expressive solos which pepper the composed material. The band who adopted his City's name springs to mind in "Metro", a vibrant tribute to Chicago House music, whilst "Closer " touches the heartstrings on a more personal level. Finally Steve adds a soprano sax to the mix on the dreamy "Come With Me".
This is music to cheer you up on a wet day. Go for it.
2. Cote Seine
4. Just a natural thing
5. Take me
6. Something about you
9. Come with me