Saxophones, Lead and Background Vocals, MC and Bandleader
It was clear from his formative years when he paid for his own high school saxophone lessons that Seattle raised Chris Cole was going to make music his career. Progressing from his junior high band to 1st chair in the Washington state All-State band, it was no surprise that Chris found himself working professionally at the age of 17. Inspired at a young age by Ernie Watts, Chris found himself playing at T dances in downtown Seattle hotels and shortly thereafter was on the road with various groups including the New Deal Rhythm Band. It wasn’t long before LA whispered….and Chris found his way to the mentoring of Be Bop legend Charlie Shoemake and saxophonist Bob Sheppard. Inspired by their encouragement, he won a scholarship to Boston’s Berklee School of Music. After his first private lesson with his saxophone teacher at Berklee the instructor asked him if he could cover a gig for him that upcoming week end. That request started a playing career and involvement in bands that do weddings and private funtions. The business aspect of the bands led him to a stint as a booking agent. After Berklee Chris also did extensive private studies with legendary saxophonist/teachers Jerry Bergonzi and Charlie Banacos. The combination of these experiences led Chris to form his first successful band, Kahootz, a top ranked general business band out of Boston. Always looking for new talent, Chris formed the popular second band, K2. And this year is forming the band KB3. He owns and manages all these bands and plays saxophone in Kahootz. He feels that one of the more enjoyable aspects of running the bands is the opportunity to spot and encourage emerging talent. He has employed: Justin Wilson, drummer for Revellie; Chris Loftlin, bass player for Brian McNight; Mark Kelly, bass player for The Roots; Aubrey Logan, international jazz festival winner; Naomi Gillies, a finalist on American Idol; and Amy Heideman of the pop band Karmin. Chris has performed on many other artists projects including internationally acclaimed reggae artist “Moon”, world music artist Johnno Johnston and alternative rock artist Christopher Fee. Cole’s studio work also includes demos and jingles for many others. He has done live performances with many well known artists including Toshiko Akioshi, Lew Tabacken and Teddy Penergrass to name a few. Chris was featured in the July 2013 issue of Saxophone Journal. Both interviewed, and as one of the issue’s magazine cover featured artists.