January 8, 2010
Steve Cole, the internationally known Jazz saxophonist and a teacher in McNally Smith’s Music Business department, debuted recently on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz chart at number 7. This second album with his group The Sax Pack — titled The Pack Is Back — readily cracked the chart, following the path of other successful releases by Cole. Over the years, Cole has sold hundreds of thousands of records worldwide.
The Pack Is Back features fellow saxophonists Kim Waters and Jeff Kashiwa, plus Cole, and is the follow-up to the 2008 self-titled debut release “The Sax Pack” which held the #1 spot on Contemporary Jazz radio for over six weeks. The Sax Pack toured Europe in November and will perform in many cities throughout the United States beginning March 2010.
This past fall, Cole
stepped into his teaching role at McNally Smith College of Music in the school’s popular Music Business Division
, which prepares musicians and non-musicians alike to work in the music industry at a number of levels through an interdisciplinary approach to higher music education.
Besides being a distinguished musician, producer and writer, Cole also has a strong business background with an MBA from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business. Prior to coming to McNally Smith, he held a similar teaching position as a professor of Music Business Management at Columbia College in Chicago.
A Chicago native, the saxophonist began his professional career, playing sessions and club dates wherever possible. He first recorded with blues legend Junior Wells and began playing, writing and producing with Atlantic Records artist Brian Culbertson. His visibility at the label grew, and soon Cole signed his own deal with Atlantic in 1998. He subsequently recorded for Warner Brothers, Shanachie and EMI/Blue Note. To date, the artist has released seven CDs and has five Number One R&R Smooth Jazz hits. In 2000, he earned a Prism Award for Best New Artist at the Oasis Smooth Jazz Awards.
Cole has toured and/or recorded with Boz Scaggs, Larry Carlton, Jeff Lorber, Brian Culbertson, Freddie Cole, Cyrus Chestnut, KMFDM, and Rick Braun and is a founding member, along with Jeff Kashiwa and Kim Waters of The Sax Pack. An accomplished musician, writer and producer, he is currently under contract as a recording artist with Mack Avenue/Artistry Music, and as a writer with Universal Music Publishing where he has published over 50 works. Recently Cole signed a multiple album deal with Mack Avenue/Artistry Music. The first project for the label, entitled Moonlight, is a collection of classic pop songs and standards set amidst an orchestral backdrop.
Cole attended Northwestern University, where he explored modern classical music for the saxophone under the tutelage of internationally recognized educator Fred Hemke. While in undergraduate school, the gifted musician was a semi-finalist in the National Foundation for the Advancement in the Arts and one of three finalists in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition.
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