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Steve Cole: Spin

Steve Cole unveils a new sound on Spin (Narada). The smooth-jazz saxophonist had become fascinated with guitar-based pop music, and he decided to take up the guitar himself. Even though Cole’s saxophone is still front and center, guitars play a prominent role in the arrangements on this album.

Spin opens with the catchy, upbeat “Thursday,” which is followed by “The Real Me,” wherein a bed of strummed guitars supports Cole’s soaring sax melody. “Simple Things” has a soft-pop feel, while the organ-accented “I Was Alright” features more of a rock edge. “A Letter to Laura” is a romantic ballad Cole wrote for his wife, and the closer “Confounded” reveals a different musical side; it’s a funky rouser that finds Cole blowing with abandon, infusing his performance with plenty of attitude. Cole’s new sound fits his melodic sax voice well, and it’ll be worth following how he develops it on future recordings.

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