Saxophonist Steve Cole is one of the most celebrated players in contemporary jazz.The Chicago native exploded onto the scene in 1998 with the album “Stay Awhile” that was produced by fellow Chicagoan Brian Culbertson. The disc scored two #1 hits and earned Cole the Oasis Smooth Jazz Award for best new artist shortly before his sophomore set, “Between Us,” was released in 2000. His catchy singles made him an instant radio favorite and he cranked them out with regularity on subsequent albums “NY LA” (2003), “Spin” (2005, “True” (2006), “Moonlight” (2009), and “True” (2013).
In addition to his work as solo artist, Steve has performed/recorded, with Junior Wells, Buddy Guy, Boz Scaggs, Larry Carlton, Jeff Lorber, Jim Peterik, Freddie Cole, Cyrus Chestnut, and KMFDM, and has been a featured soloist with the City of Prague Orchestra, and The Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Steve is also a founding member of The Sax Pack, a stellar sax trio completed by Marcus Anderson and Jeff Kashiwa.
Known for consistently cranking out chart-topping singles that deploy big vibrant pop hooks, contemporary jazz saxophonist Steve Cole conjures a sonic escapade with the hypnotic “Mirage,” the first single from his forthcoming eighth album, “Turn It Up,” which will be released July 15 by Artistry Music. Radio programmers were instantly spellbound, making the track from the David Mann-produced set of R&B grooves and soul-powered sojourns the No. 1 most added single on the Billboard BDS chart.
The entrancing single on which electronic beats bombard the senses before chill tenor and soprano sax leads and a soothing trumpet undercurrent take command of the illusion is one of nine new songs on the session, eight of which were composed or co-composed by Cole. The tune reflects his hometown roots and ardor for Chicago’s dance music scene. It’s one of three major cities that helped shape the collection.
“I embarked on ‘Turn It Up’ with the goal of making music with great musicians and great friends in great cities. This time around I wrote much of the music with Dave Mann in New York City. We recorded horns, guitars and vocals there as well. The energy in that great city was truly inspiring and it really is reflected in the music. Next stop was Minneapolis, where I worked with the great keyboardist and producer Ricky Peterson. Ricky and I wrote the song ‘Workhouse’ together, a track influenced by our love of Chicago house music. Dave joined us later in Minneapolis to record Ricky on the Hammond B3 organ as well as to record my Chicago pals, bassist Lamar Jones and drummer Khari Parker. I decided to track all of the saxophone parts in Minneapolis as well,” explained Cole, who has a slate of festival and club dates running into mid-October to help support the album release.
Cole and Mann have been collaborating ever since Cole’s sophomore record, “Between Us” (2000). In addition to helming the production on “Turn It Up,” multi-instrumentalist Mann often shadows Cole on alto and soprano sax to add depth, thickness, volume and intensity to the layers upon layers of horns – alto, tenor and soprano saxophones, trumpet, trombone and flute. Aside from the back-to-back dance music workouts that close the album, Cole’s energizing pop melodies and hooky harmonies on the disc are presented as soulful R&B joints. The saxman dusted off Bobby Womack’s “Woman’s Gotta Have It,” teamed up with fresh-faced keyboardist Nicholas Cole on “Turn It Up!” and yielded the spotlight on “Bright Side” to Pieces of a Dream’s James Lloyd, the author of the sunny mid-tempo smile, who solos on piano.
“In the end, I really accomplished what I set out to do,” Cole surmised. “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!”
Cole’s 1998 award-winning arrival onto the contemporary jazz scene was the Brian Culbertson-produced “Stay Awhile” that spawned a pair of No. 1 singles. Solo tours and prominent sideman gigs with Culbertson, Boz Scaggs, Rick Braun, Peter White, Jeff Lorber and Larry Carlton served to rapidly multiply his fervent fan base exponentially while successive albums and singles repeatedly took Cole to the top of the charts, establishing him as a radio playlist favorite. In addition to his own recordings, Cole records and performs regularly as a member of Sax Pack, an all-star sax combo consisting of rotating members Jeff Kashiwa, Kim Waters, Jackiem Joyner and Marcus Anderson. For more information, please visit www.SteveCole.net.
The songs contained on “Turn It Up” are:
“Turn It Up!”
“She’s The One”
“Woman’s Gotta Have It”
“Laws Of Attraction”
“Life Is A Groove”
Quickly becoming a recognized name in contemporary jazz, is multi-talented guitarist, writer, producer, performer, David P Stevens. Having shared the stage with the likes of Gerald Albright, Nick Colionne, Najee, Alex Bugnon, Frank McComb, Jeff Kashiwa, Gerald Veasley, Brian Simpson, James Lloyd, and several more, at festivals such as Berks Jazz fest, Rehoboth Jazz fest, Queen City Summer fest, Capitol Jazz Cruise, Lake Arbor Jazz festival and more, David is solidifying his place as that funky dynamic guitarist, with a sound of his own, at the top of the game!
At the age of 12, David became enamored with the guitar after watching one of his heroes play the instrument. David quickly began playing in church, eventually picking up several other instruments, including bass, drums, keys and vocals. At 14, David began playing professionally for local bands, choirs and artists all over Philadelphia. Influenced by George Duke, George Benson, Norman Brown and Paul Jackson Jr., David began writing, recording and producing as well, spending every dime saved, to bring artists into the studio to record. Fresh Tracks studios, in Philadelphia PA, would be the birthplace of David’s genre bending, eclectic blend of contemporary jazz music.
Known for his electrifying, high-energy performances, we now find David P Stevens touring the world, showcasing original songs from his 5 explosive jazz albums. Each album features a set of top musicians and artists in the genre, and have each catapulted David further with every spin. David’s newest offering, “Love City” was released July 9th, 2016, and is being hailed by many as David’s best work to date. This album features Najee, Lin Rountree, Pamela Williams, Jackiem Joyner, Frank McComb, Selina Albright, Vandell Andrew and more! You can expect the same dynamic genre bending that David has become infamous for, but also a new, polished and focused direction that comes with season and maturity. The song “Night Life” from the album, which features Jackiem Joyner, is currently on radio and climbing the charts weekly. The world is beginning to take note of the hard work and steady building David has been doing over time.
Exciting, innovating, energetic, thoughtful, and downright funky, are the qualities which prompt fans to fill clubs, and attend shows where David P Stevens is performing. David says: “I know the feeling of playing hard for an empty room, so I appreciate each and every fan and friend who come out to my shows, take pictures with me, sometimes go to dinner with me, and who continue to push me and my music across social media! It’s because of you, that my career has grown, and I don’t take that for granted!”
You have seen the footage countless times. They usually unfold in a similar fashion. You know, the young child, whom the audience thinks is going to sing “Mary Had A Little Lamb” or “I’m a Little Tea Pot”, suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere belts out a song that nobody possibly their age could sing. It is a preview of a superstar destined to be in the spotlight. Meagan McNeal was no exception. While performing at her aunt’s wedding at the age of 9, Meagan sang Steve Wonder’s “You and I” (We Can Conquer the World) to an audience that was mesmerized; a performance that will never be forgotten. It was quickly said, “That little one is going to be somebody someday.” Her journey had just started.
Flashing forward to the present; the 28 year- old vocalist and Chicago native has surprised crowds in a similar fashion as she did then. Launching her solo career in 2007, Meagan McNeal has opened for the likes of Dwele, Avery Sunshine, Jon B, and The Velvelettes of the legendary Motown Records. She has also performed background vocals for the likes of Eminem and the O’Jays. Meagan has shared her voice in venues across the country and abroad. From songs of love, peace, and self-discovery, she is well on her way into evolving into the star she is destined to be. Meagan is a graduate of Western Michigan University and is currently living in Chicago, Illinois.
Her first release, Mindset was a hit, garnering strong local and international acclaim. She is currently writing and recording new material; with an EP set to be released in April 2014. A full-length album is slated to be recorded and launched by the end of the year. Mindset is still available for purchase at www.cdbaby.com/meaganmcneal
Keyboardist Oli Silk is the UK’s Smooth Jazz Ambassador!
He began writing and recording music as part of jazz funk duo ‘Sugar and Silk’ in the late 1990’s. The pair released 2 albums to much European acclaim and this grabbed the attention of Trippin’N’Rhythm Records’ CEO Les Cutmore who signed Oli on a multi-album deal which first gave us his debut solo CD ‘So Many Ways’ in 2006.
Fast forward a decade, and Oli now has 5 CD’s to his name, all under the Trippin’N’Rhythm label. The most recent, released in July 2016 is entitled ‘Where I Left Off’ and the first single features one of Oli’s musical mentors and pals Peter White on guitar. Oli has had many chart topping radio singles over the years, most notably one of the biggest hits of 2009 ‘Chill Or Be Chilled’, and also the 2014 chart-topper ‘At Your Service’.
Oli remains one of the most dynamic and energetic keyboardists in the genre, and his unique mix of jazzy instrumentals, funky vocal cuts and down right dirty ol’ school keytar and vocoder, give his live shows that real wow factor and have garnered him a loyal and dedicated US fan-base!
Oli’s skills as a keys player have made him the UK go-to guy for some of the genre’s biggest artists such as Gerald Albright, Chuck Loeb, Boney James, Dave Koz, Euge Groove and Peter White. His credentials as a musical director are also far reaching, most notably for 4 years at the Dubai International Jazz Festival – overseeing some 30+ artists on the Jazz Garden Stage.
When off stage, Oli is a sought-after smooth jazz producer, composer and mix engineer whose recent clients include keyboardists Nicholas Cole and Tim Watson, and saxophonist Michael J Thomas. Oli has also composed music for TV (Oprah Winfrey, MTV, Miami Ink) and hi end smartphone apps (Zynga Games).
International recording artist and saxophonist Phil Denny has built an impressive resume of notable achievements locally, nationally and internationally as a performing musician, recording artists and event producer. Since well before his 2012 debut CD release “Crossover,” the three-time Billboard charting artist has been earning friends, fans, respect and appreciation from music listeners, concert goers and industry colleagues while being recognized as a “people’s musician.” His travels have taken him all over the US, Dubai, UAE and Africa and can often be scene performing as a sideman with veteran artists of the smooth jazz format. Personal recordings of note are “Crossover,” “The Messenger” and “Upswing.”