Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Music · George Cole
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George Cole

Kristi Kates - August 1st, 2011
He’s toured with Joe Walsh of The Eagles, was guitar instructor/mentor to Green Day, performed with Buster Poindexter, and recorded with Chris Isaak. But guitarist/vocalist/composer/producer George Cole is poised to perhaps become best known for his own work with his George Cole Quintet, a group he’s put together to interpret the sounds of great American classic songs through a musical filter that’s all his own.
Comprised of Jimmy Grant (“he brings the power,” Cole says), Chris Bastian (“connectivity”), Stephan Dudash (“virtuosity”), Mary Jenson (“melody”) and Cole (“I bring the flash,” he laughs), the five musicians focus on a sound that Cole has developed - one that he’s dubbed ‘Eurocana.’
“Eurocana music is an amalgamation of French jazz, classical music, Gypsy music, and our own music here in the States,” Cole explains, “on the American side is of course jazz, and by jazz I mean primarily swing.”
All the members of the Quintet, Cole says, “love and respect” what is now called the Great American Songbook, which he calls “our country’s classical music”: Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Dean Martin, Louis Prima, Mel Torme et al - but they perform their own originals, which carry the faint, pleasantly fragrant coatroom scent of old standards that you somehow missed along the way.
“People tell me at our concerts that they are grateful that we are bringing this kind of music back,” Cole says, “I always thank them for the compliment, but I also enjoy telling them that as far as I’m concerned, it never went anywhere.”

The Eurocana sound, Cole further explains, can be summarized in two words: “beauty and elegance,” he says. But let it not be said that his form of popular music is far removed from today’s radio pop; he points out that the two genres share the same sensibilities.
“Most of my work adheres closely to the rules of composition as per the Great American songbook,” he explains, “I love the idea that the structure and form and the rules of composition are the same for me as they are for Sting, Carole King or George Gershwin.”
“Having a four-minute canvas is not a bad thing,” Cole continues, “for me, it is the ultimate challenge to be concise and to the point. Billy Joel, Cole Porter, and yes, Lady Gaga follow the rules of form in popular song, as do my five-year-old son’s favorites Justin Beiber and Rebecca Black,” he chuckles.
“I love the idea of a composer working alone in their room, and then a year and a half later, the whole world knows the song they wrote and can sing along with it. Having said that, we do have some waltzes and face melting instrumentals that are in an expanded form - I do have a bit of the renegade in me.”

In his well-cut suit and handmade guitar, with his bandmates similarly attired in a natty style, the ‘renegade’ Cole, who along with his group is promoting the band’s new CD, Riverside Drive, is a stylish retro presence onstage, while the songs take on a brightened life that belies their old-school roots.
Cole’s songwriting was first inspired by pioneering jazz/gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt - but took on a twist and a flourish motivated by his own life.
“I’d always loved the music of Reinhardt since I heard his music as a child,” Cole explains, “and now that I have made a couple of records, I have the additional joy of having great people in my band and sharing our music with the world. I’ve been through a good cross-section of Bay Area musicians over the last few years, but am (now) happy to have a stable unit that I also count as friends.”
Cole and his quintet of friends will be performing at - coincidentally - a quintet of Northern Michigan gigs over the next few weeks. So what can audiences expect at a George Cole Quintet show?
“It would not be a George Cole Quintet show without some wild guitar and violin shredding,” Cole laughs, “my best friend gave me the best advice I ever got - ‘no flash, no cash.’ Words to build a career on, no?”

The George Cole Quintet will be performing on August 7 at the Elk Rapids Cinema; August 10 at The Cabbage Shed in Elberta; on August 11 at InsideOut Gallery in Traverse City; for the Charlevoix Area Hospital Benefit ‘Symphony on the Green’ on August 12; and on August 13 as part of the Black Cat Concerts series in Charlevoix.
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