The Greatest Gift- Songs of the Season

The Greatest Gift - Songs of the Season

Alexis Cole (Motéma Music)

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The Greatest Gift was conceived and performed by Alexis Cole in collaboration with her father, singer/songwriter Mark Finkin and over 50 musicians from New York City who donated their talents in support of the visionary work of World Bicycle Relief. World Bicycle Relief provides sustainable access to healthcare, education and economic development in needy countries through "The Power of Bicycles"

Personnel: Mark Finkin: vocals, piano; St. Paul's Children's Choir: vocals; St. James' Quartet: harps; Greg Frens: vocal; Don Brayden: sax; Christian Howes: violin; Warren Chasson: vibraphone; Alan Ferber: trombone; Jon Cowherd: piano; Jeff Haynes: percussion; Jessie Lewis: guitar; Ike Sturm: bass; Fred Kennedy: drums; Gottfried Stoger: sax; John Menegon: bass; Alvin Atkinson: drums; Kumar Das: tablas; Pir Shabda Khan: tambura; Zach Brock: violin; Andie Springer: violin; Beth Meyers: viola; Jody Redhage: cello; Warren Chasson: vibes; Tedd Firth: piano.

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Downbeat Magazine Review December 2009

Downbeat Magazine Review December 2009

Reviews:
Amazon Customer Review - This is serious Christmas music, from a very serious jazz musician and exquisite vocalist. It is compositionally, harmonically and melodically inventive, with a grab-bag of musical surprises in every tune, and in every selection. Incredibly well-executed by some of the finest jazz players you'll ever hear. This isn't a 'throw-away' smooth-jazz/ newage Christmas record, either. This album is musically powerful and will retain its interest throughout the year, not just at Christmas. A great Christmas present for the jazz lover and the discerning ear, but accessible for the novice jazz fan as well. A tour de force, highly recommended.
Jazz Times - Lee Mergner Holiday Roundup
World Music Report- Raul da Gama
Biblical Christianity Blog 
All Music - Ken Dryden
All About Jazz - Bridget A. Arnwine
Vocation Carol - Franciscan Sisters
Straight No Chaser Blog
Dena Dyer Blog



 

Someday My Prince Will Come

Someday My Prince Will Come

Alexis Cole

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Disney Love Songs with Fred Hersch: piano Steve LaSpina: bass Matt Wilson: drums Gregoire Maret: harmonica Don Braden: tenor, soprano, flute

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Japanese Release Reviews: 
NYC Jazz Record - Ernest Barteldes 
Jazz Times - Christopher Loudon 

All Music - Michael G. Nastos:
Alexis Cole is caught deep in the dreams of her childhood on this set of standards that recall a more innocent youth and simpler times. Yet the romantic spell of grown-up fantasies is also heard during this set of ballads derived from show tunes that have references to Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and similar playful, lighthearted figures of mythical proportions. As a vocalist, Cole has few peers in terms of her enunciation, coupled with a beautiful singing voice she draws on previous icons such as Chris Connor, Irene Kral, or Carol Sloane. Pianist Fred Hersch is a perfect choice for making these songs come to life in Cole's vivid, lush, story telling imagination, with bassist Steve LaSpina and drummer Matt Wilson also along for this magic carpet ride. A song like the loping ramble "Let Me Be Good to You" is more seductive, while "Love" (from Robin Hood) adds Hersch's stride piano and Don Braden's soprano sax, adding whimsy to the forlorn refrain. For the most part, these are heartfelt songs of love on the way, anticipated by Cole's supple voice during the soft swinger "If I Never Knew You" (from Pocahontas) and the waltzing title track, both featuring the haunting harmonica of Gregoire Maret. Braden's flute on "La La Lu" (from Lady & the Tramp) accents Cole's sweet charms, perfectly evocative of her cover photos, as she's draped in pearls and a pristine white dress, holding a butterfly. If you're in a similar mood, probably late at night, these songs are best when shared with a good friend, especially as time stands still but for a while.

You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To

You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To

Alexis Cole and One For All

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with One For All featuring Eric Alexander - sax, Jim Rotundi - tr, Steve Davis - tb, David Hazeltine - p, John Webber - b, and Joe Farnsworth - d

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Brian Robinson - Jazz Journal International April 2018
Dan Bilawsky - All About Jazz
Scott Yanow - Los Angeles Jazz Scene (search Alexis Cole)
Ernest Barteldes - Music Whatever Blog 
Roberta Zlokower - Roberta on the Arts Blog 
Ralph Miriello -  Notes on Jazz Blog (search Alexis Cole)
Thomas Cunniffe - Jazz History Online  
Alix Cohen - Cabaret Scenes 

Kevin Jones - Fine Music (Australia) 5 Stars
Here is the supreme stylist at the height of her powers. No need to look any further for the next great jazz singer: this album is the proof, if any was needed. The title track, where Alexis Cole is backed by One For All, is worth the price of the album alone. This brilliant group, inspired by Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers of the 1960’s, is named after the drummer’s final Blue Note recording in 1990 at the age of 71. Under the nominal leadership of pianist David Hazeltine since 1979, it sizzles through the Cole Porter standard spotlighting the talents of the leader, trombonist Steve Davis, tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, bassist John Webber and drummer Joe Farnsworth and an inspired Cole more than matches them. Compared with Carmen McRae after Cole’s 2013 debut album, The Sultry Sound Of Jazz with the trio of pianist  John DiMartino, it is interesting to compare their versions of All The Thing You Are. Originally written as a ballad by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II, I enjoyed McRae’s 1957 recording on first hearing it but Cole takes her Latin-inflected version to even greater heights. But this is only one of the many highlights; Cole Porter’s So In Love swings nicely, Cole sharing the spotlight with Davis, a soloist of the highest class. Surprisingly only one ballad! You’ve Changed, just another highlight as trumpeter Jim Rotundi compliments Cole’s sophisticated delivery sublimely.  The search for the next great jazz singer is over. This album is the proof. 

Suzanne Lorge, Vox News Column NYC Jazz Record, March 2018 
Alexis Cole has recorded four albums for the Japanese label Venus, each one a masterful collaboration with premier jazz musicians like Fred Hersch and Bucky Pizzarelli.  In 2010 she joined with the seriously swinging sextet One For All to record You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To - 11 straightahead tunes (e.g., “Moon River”, “Cry Me a River” and the title cut) that show off Cole’s consummate command of vocal jazz. Cole is at her finest on this release

Robert D. Rusch - Cadence Magazine- Papatamus column  March 2018
Singer  ALEXIS COLE joins with the group One For All on YOU’D BE SO NICE TO COME HOME TO. This 2016 recording is classic jazz in that vocal and instrumental parts are equal. This immediately brings to mind Anita O’day whose singing was so often integrated with participating artists. I suspect Cole enjoys this interaction as she sure sounds comfortable with the interplay and with each listen a freshness remains. There are 11 standards addressed here [56:56] and Cole’s mood runs from warm and happy to vulnerable on “So In Love” and on to wistful on “A Beautiful Friendship”. This is a terrific recording that is going to be tough to top but it is my hope that it’s one of a series of toppers. 
    To my surprise two of ALEXIS COLE’s early recordings on her Canopy Records are still in print. NEARER THE SUN [Canopy Jazz Records cjcd 7628] is a trio [Ben Stivers-p, Anthony Pinciotti-drm, Jon [sic] Hebert-b] date from 2/19/04. The program is of 9 mostly standards and includes “Poem For #15” by Steve Kuhn. Kuhn wrote it for baseball player Thurman Munson, who died in a plane crash in 1979. It’s somewhat avant and is followed by “How Insensitive” which  is taken very emotively.  “The Peacocks” is given a straight reading followed by free verse. Following this comes “You Make Me Feel So Young” and I get the impression that at this time in her career, Cole is uncertain in her direction as there is a self consciousness to her singing. Of course this release is early in her career and after spending time with her latest performance (above) most anything would pale in comparison. Just after Nearer The Sun, Cole released ZINGARO [Canopy Jazz Records cjcd 7629] which is a combines two trio dates [Ron Affif-gtr, Jeffry Eckels-b —7/30/06] and [Saul Rubin-gtr, Jon Roche-b—4/6/2003]. Here she sounds more relaxed and is more on the way to that Anita O’day feel. Again mostly standards, Cole’s original “Morning With You” is paired with “Walkin’” from the 2003 date. Rubin is particularly effective. This is more straight ahead than the Nearer The Sun date, and the music and vocals are better intigrated. The Venus CD is a synthesis of what the earlier recordings show. Her latest is exquisite and should help make Cole a regular on the circuit.

 

 

A Beautiful Friendship

A Beautiful Friendship

Alexis Cole & Bucky Pizzarelli

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Bucky Pizzarelli: guitar Frank Vignola: guitar Nicki Parrott: bass/ vocals Anat Cohen: clarinet Warren Vaché: cornet

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