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McNally Smith Music Business Division Chair Steve Cole Climbs Billboard Jazz Charts

McNally Smith College of Music’s own Steve Cole, in addition to being the school’s Music Business Division Head, has hit high on the Billboard Jazz charts – and is climbing. “Undun,” from Cole’s 2010 album Moonlight, recently reached #6 on the charts. Moonlight, Cole’s eighth studio album, follows a slew other successful releases, including records in 2008 and 2009 with The Sax Pack, a group which features fellow saxophonists Kim Waters and Jeff Kashiwa. Over the years, Cole has sold hundreds of thousands of records worldwide.

Cole joined McNally Smith College of Music in the fall of 2009, as a faculty member 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. Since then, he has been named head of the department, while continuing to tour and record.

In addition to his roles a distinguished performing musician, producer, and composer, Cole also holds an M.B.A. 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 Chicago.

A Chicago native, Steve Cole began his professional career playing clubs, and first recorded with blues legend Junior Wells. He began playing, writing, and producing with Atlantic Records artist Brian Culbertson, and Cole soon signed his own deal with Atlantic in 1998. He subsequently recorded for Warner Brothers, Shanachie, and EMI/Blue Note. To date, he has released eight CDs, has earned five Number One R&R Smooth Jazz hits, and won the Prism Award for Best New Artist at the 2000 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. Cole attended Northwestern University, where he explored modern classical music for the saxophone under the tutelage of internationally recognized educator Fred Hemke. While in 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.

Cole’s outstanding showing on the Billboard Jazz charts demonstrates the varied skills and styles of McNally Smith College of Music faculty. Keep your eyes on “Undun” – and on the jazz charts – as Steve Cole is bound to be a regular visitor.