Jazz pianist Nicholas Cole is back with a new album for 2019. It is called The Weekend, and if you need some new music to add to your weekend playlist, then you will definitely want to take a listen to this album.
It has been written before that Cole’s music is a hybrid of Jonathan Butler, Kirk Whalum and Brian Culbertson. I can see that, but I would say that his style is really good instrumental R&B.
The Weekend features some nice instrumental R&B, and Cole has enlisted some of his friends to contribute to the project. How about these names? Guitarist Kay-Ta Matsuno, the legendary Chieli Minucci, Jazz trumpeter & composer Michael Stever, and one of my favorite vocalists, Elliott Yamin.
Let’s jump into the album and see what’s up!
Review – “The Weekend” by Nicholas Cole
The album starts out with an interlude called Recall. It features Satyr Black, and because I did not realize the track was an interlude when I put it on, it really felt like a tease. I was left wanting more of that!
The album eases into the next track, Stranger Things. It features Michael Stever, and after the song’s smooth intro you get a nice upbeat groove. Cole is really banging out those keys with a purpose, and you get just enough of Stever’s trumpet in the background.
Turning It Up is up next. I have to say that this should be the “Official Friday Night Jam!” It pretty much has it all, an uptempo funky beat, a tight bassline, stellar piano riffs, and the vocoder makes an appearance to give us an old school vibe. You WILL feel like turning it up!
Now, when I was browsing the track listing, I was especially drawn to the next track. PYT (Pretty Young Thing) is up next and it features Elliott Yamin. I am NOT a fan of Michael Jackson remakes, BUT I have to say that they really did the damn thing here. They kept the structure of the original song, but there are some nice horn hits that I really love and Cole features the vocoder once again. If you listen closely at the very end, you will notice the percussion sound that intros the Michael Jackson classic Working Day and Night.
Pretty clever if you ask me!
On Sugar, I can really hear the Brian Culbertson influences. All of the elements are there. The mid-tempo beat, a nice bassline, and the guitar gives us a nice canvas, but the piano is obviously the star of the show. This is some great work.
The title track, The Weekend, is up next. In a crazy way, I feel like this song is telling me a story, even though there are no lyrics. You can insert your own storyline and I am willing to bet that this could be the soundtrack. There is so much to like about this song.
Should’ve Been Us is up next, and it features Kay-Ta Matsuno. I cannot be 100% certain, but it sounds like a human beatbox is supplying the bottom here. That makes the track seem organic to its core. I am also loving Matsuno’s guitar. The strings give the song a finishing touch.
If you are ready for a slow jam, then Pillow Talk will do you just fine. In addition to the piano, the guitar takes the lead here, and I am really digging the guitar’s tone. The strings also play a big part here, and I just have the visual of someone strolling down a dimly lit street after a long day of work.
Soulmate is up next. The track features Chieli Minucci and the vibe I get is one of a party…..as you sail through the Mediterranean Sea. One listen, and you will know what I am talking about.
The set concludes with It Ain’t Over. But, actually it is…..Cole leaves us with an uptempo groove that shows off his prowess as a musician. The piano sounds really good here.
Nicholas Cole’s The Weekend is one of the strongest offerings of 2019. Overall, it has an R&B sensibility that once again blurs the line between smooth jazz and soul music.
Those who like “Adult R&B” will eat this up, and even the casual jazz fan will want to add this to their “Weekend” playlist.