John Coltrane Chillin on the Beach
Many artists come from a single background, such as punk, or heavy metal, or pop music. Pianist and composer Cole B comes from a multi-faceted background. He started out playing classical and popular music, and listening to top 40 radio, but has finally decided on a style that is all his own, combining jazz, pop, dance, funk, atonality and minimalism. Cole B enjoys working on his own, knowing all too well how difficult it is to find people who are dedicated and serious about performing in a band.
Cole B started life as Bryan Eyberg, in Creston Iowa. He started taking piano lessons when he was 7 years old, and took to the piano very quickly. He learned to play from method books, but soon after starting was playing pieces that he had heard on the radio, as well as easy classics by composers such as Mozart, Bach, and Schubert, and Beethoven. Cole couldn’t even pronounce the names of some of these composers, but loved their music very much.
When Cole was in junior high school, he got his first keyboard, an Ensoniq ESQ-1. He began writing his own music, which was a contemporary mix of art music and dance and pop music. His original goal was to move to Los Angeles after graduating from high school, and become a session player in the recording studios of Hollywood. But practicality soon took over, and after entering high school, Cole started to think about going to college and studying classical music. “I was concerned that I wouldn’t make it as a session player in Hollywood, and so I thought if I went to college, I could be a music teacher.” Cole went on to get his Master’s degree in piano performance, but something about classical music just wasn’t fulfilling his needs as a musician.
A few years after receiving his Master’s degree in music, Cole’s fiancée and a friend from college began suggesting that Cole write his own music. Once Cole gave it a try, he was really happy, because he was revisiting a childhood dream of playing contemporary music. “I really do love classical music, but I feel that if Beethoven or Chopin were alive today, they would be playing synthesizers and recording their own modern compositions.” Cole’s desire to do something more contemporary was fulfilled.
Even before Cole made the switch to modern music, he was starting to experiment with more contemporary sounds. “I was at a gig one night in Boston, at the Mary Baker Eddy Library, and I started playing this piece. I was reading a lot about minimalism and the music of John Cage and Phillip Glass. I loved the idea of minimalism, but thought that Phillip Glass always chose the ugliest harmonies to repeat. So I though, what would it be like to repeat a beautiful harmony in minimal form? And the result was General Flow. This is the third track on my new album, Piano Circus.
Funky Times is also one of my favorite tracks on Piano Circus. I started out with a jazzy riff in the keyboard part, and then added a drum loop to the track. The track was good, but when I was mastering it, my fiancée suggested that I use the effect that is known as the Rave effect on my eight track recorder. It really made that track pop. Also, when I borrowed a keyboard, I played the Funky Times riff with the arpeggiator and the drum tracks. It really made for a great remix.
Cole B recently appeared at the club Ground Zero in New Hampshire, and has done gigs at the Mary Baker Eddy Library in Boston, and all around the New England area. You can catch his new CD, Piano Circus, on CD Baby at http://cdbaby.com/cd/coleb