With such a long and storied recording career, Richie Cole's four-year absence from the studio ended well with Profile, his first recording for Heads Up. A maker of jazz moments for more than a quarter of a century, the alto saxophonist feels that his work on Profile is as strong as it's ever been. "I feel more centered on my music, so my music is clearer," he says.
Old and new friends make up Cole's crew for Profile. The lead song, "Presidential Sax," recalls the work of bebop composer/arranger Todd Dameron, and the smoking out-chorus where Cole and new labelmate Henry Johnson play as one just demands attention. The altoist's relationship with pianist Dick Hindman goes back to Denver and Clyde's Pub in 1977, and Richie holds him in high respect: "Whenever we work together, I consider him my musical director." Drummer Scott Morris and Cole have worked together since 1982, when Morris was a member of what Richie jokingly calls his "Bebop Band from Hell," which featured Filipino pianist Bobby Enriquez and guitarist Bruce Forman. Bassists Seward McCanin and Frank Passantino and pianist/synthesist Rich Kuhns have been with Richie for several years, and Cole rates them all as "very solid players."
More than satisfied with the results on Profile, Cole states "I'm trying to stretch myself one day at a time, express myself one day at a time, playing from a traditional jazz background yet always keeping my ears open to what's happening currently." Profile is clearly vintage Cole - still on the road, but right at home, where he belongs, in the jazz world.