Letters

Letters 08-25-14

Save America

I read your paper because it’s free and I enjoy the ads. But I struggle through the left wing tripe that fills every page, from political cartoons to the vitriolic pen of Mr. Tuttle. What a shame this beautiful area of the state has such an abundance of Socialist/democrats. Or perhaps the silent majority chooses to stay silent...

Doom, Yet a Cup Half Full

In the news we are told of the civil unrest at Ferguson, Mo; ISIS war radicals in Iraq and Syria; the great corporate tax heist at home. You name it. Trouble, trouble, everywhere. It seems to me the U.S. Congress is partially to blame...

Uncomfortable Questions

defending the positions of the Israelis vs Hamas are far too narrow. Even Mr. Tuttle seems to have failed in looking deeply into the divide. American media is not biased against Israel, nor or are they pro Palestine or Hamas...

The Evolution of Man Revisited

As the expectations of manhood evolve, so too do the rules of love. In Mr. Holmes’s statement [from “Our Therapist Will See Us Now” in last week’s issue] he narrows the key to a successful relationship to the basic need to have your wants and needs understood, and it is on this point I expand...

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

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.”

PORTER TO GAGA
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.”

RIVERSIDE REINHARDT
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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