Richie Cole was an American alto saxophonist and composer born on February 29, 1948, in Trenton, New Jersey. He was known for his energetic and virtuosic playing style and his dedication to the bebop tradition.
Cole began his musical career in the late 1960s, playing with various jazz and rock bands in the East Coast music scene. He gained recognition for his talent as a saxophonist and composer and was signed to the Muse Records label in the 1970s.
Cole’s career took off in the 1980s, when he formed his own band, the Alto Madness Orchestra. The group featured a rotating cast of musicians and showcased Cole’s unique blend of bebop, swing, and Latin jazz influences. The Alto Madness Orchestra recorded several albums, including “The Wildman Returns” (1986) and “Cool” (1988).
Throughout his career, Cole collaborated with many notable jazz musicians, including Buddy Rich, Lionel Hampton, and Eddie Jefferson. He also toured extensively throughout the United States and Europe, performing at major jazz festivals and clubs.
Cole was revered by many in the jazz community for his dedication to the bebop tradition and his ability to infuse the music with his own unique style and personality. He was known for his rapid-fire solos and his playful and exuberant stage presence.
Tragically, Cole passed away on May 2, 2020, at the age of 72. His death was mourned by many in the jazz community, who praised his talent, passion, and contributions to the music.
Page last updated 4/1/2023.