****RINGER OF THE WEEK****Richie Cole: Latin Lover

Back in the 70s, Richie Cole was the creator of Alto Madness, a tribute to all things from the bop infested alto sax. After being out of the limelight for awhile, Cole has returned with a vengeance. He put out a ballads album last year, and now this collection of Latin tunes, or tunes Latinized, is simply a joy to the ears.

He’s teamed with Eric Susoeff/g, Kevin Moore/p, Mark Perna/b and Vince Taglieri/dr, and no holds are barred, as he starts off the session with a fun and South of the Border take of “If I Only Had A Brain.” From there, you get the Frito Bandito classic “Cielito Lindo” with Cole milking each “Ai Yi  Yi Yi” on the reed for all its worth, while he sighs on a bel canto take of “Senata.” He pulls out the top buttons of his shirt and bares his chest and soul going all schmaltzy with a vibrato as big as Mary Tyler Moore’s mouth on “Lonely Bull.” He does a tango as well as Gardel himself on his own “Indicted for Love” while he sambas like Jobim during a self-penned “Girl From Carnegie.” This guy makes music fun again. Have a blast with it, and who’s bringing the guacamole?


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