This Chicago native grew up surrounded by music. Steve's father, a professional clarinet / saxophone player was performing weekend gigs since Steve can remember. Commenting on his childhood Steve says, "There was always music in the house and I was always listening to what my dad was listening to - progressive jazz, straight ahead, anything from Art Blakey, to Cannonball Adderlly, to Stan Kenton." Steve started off his musical beginnings playing the clarinet. After giving it a seventh grader's version of the college try, Steve told his father, "Dad, I'm done, man, I don't like this." Steve's father knew the changes that any musician goes through when trying to find his niche decided not to force Steve into this but replied, "How about switching to saxophone?" Steve bit for this and never turned away from his musical love of the sax.
During Steve's high school years he studied under Wayne Richards, a Bordeaux Conservatory trained saxophonist who taught him the difference between good sound verses technique. After high school Steve went on to Northwestern University to study under renowned classical saxophonist Dr. Fredrick Hemke. Steve now polished his technical skills under Dr. Hemke and would eventually go on to be a prize winner in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Young Artists competition. Steve's father knowing the life of a professional musician, began questioning Steve on what he would do upon graduation. When faced with this reality Steve's mind went back to things his father's friends had told him as a child, "if you can do anything else but music, do it, because it's tough." At this point in Steve's life he wasn't 100% sure on living the life of a musician, so he decided to leave the school of music and obtain a B.A. in economics.
After being in the business world for a few years and actually going back to school to get his M.B.A., Steve finally realized the his heart gravitated to the world of music, not business. Steve made his first recording debut on Junior Wells' 1993 release, "Better off with the Blues". Steve then hooked up with Brian Culbertson and played a significant part in Culbertson's 1995 #1 smooth jazz hit, "Modern Life" and his 1996 NAC smash, "After Hours". Brian Culbertson produces Steve's stunning debut release, "Stay Awhile" and invites some great sidemen along for the ride. Steve and Brian co-write 8 of the 11 tracks on this notable release to showcase their groovy songwriting duo.
Steve comments on his partnership with Brian by saying, "He has an amazing ear. As writers, we really complement each other. Our ideas just seem to fit together in a cool way." And "cool" they are! The tracks on this release possess much more than just interesting melodies. They are well developed scripts that keep playing over and over in your head. Steve's soulful groove stems from artists such as Ray Charles, James Brown, Junior Walker and the Gap Band. The title track is most impressive with its sultry prelude leading you into one of the most romantic ballads you have ever heard.
Steve's wife, Laura joins in on alto flute for the final track to design a most appealing end to a brilliant collection of songs. Your local smooth jazz station will be wearing this release out because of the abundance of requests from jazz fans. Let me be the first to tell you, this new release by Steve Cole is "HOT"!