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Richie Cole: Come Sunday: My Kind of Religion

Links between jazz and religion, from the vocalized gospel inflections of the blues to the masses of Ellington and Brubeck, are many. Here, we meet a “reborn” Richie Cole, whose always torrid alto “sings” with even greater passion. In the opener, “I Believe,” Cole rises to impressive heights atop a throbbing pulse reminiscent of the Charles Lloyd Quartet of “Forest Flower” fame. There’s also a sanctified version of “The Eye of the Sparrow” and an engaging calypso-esque limning of “Amazing Grace” with “Preacherman” Herman Wynter raising the rafters.

Along with Cole are keyboardist Joe Bonner, bassist Artie Moore and drummer Charles Ayash. Bonner, as evidenced in his moving piano forays in Ellington’s “Come Sunday,” is particularly effective. Along with traditional fare such as “Peace in the Valley” and “Come Morning” are the secular standards “What a Wonderful World” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Though a heartfelt outing, Cole’s wobbly intonation and overly ripe vibrato are distractions.

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