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SARATOGA SPRINGS – When you get a chance to visit with Cole Broderick you are always impressed with his confidence and enthusiasm. Qualities you often see in people who have achieved major accomplishments in mid-life.
But for some people, relatively early success in life brings that big question: “Now what?” For Cole, it led to a “What’s next?” attitude.
By the mid-1990s, his music had provided a jazz soundtrack for Saratoga itself.
Those around at that time would see and Cole at every major venue and festival in town – cranking out iconic, original music, discs that were released one at a time (and is still available as a 4-CD Box Set known as the Seasons of Saratoga) that was a tribute to what Saratoga had become: A thoroughbred in its prime.
Laced with titles like “Gaffney’s Courtyard,” “Skating in Congress Park” and “August in Saratoga (The Starting Gate)” the music celebrated Saratoga’s charms and it’s status as the “year-round place to be” before it became a marketing slogan.
Along the way, the accolades accumulate and Cole himself had been woven into the fabric of Saratoga itself. It could be opined with scarce argument that had Saratoga constructed a Mount Rushmore replica in tribute to its musical heritage, it would be hard to keep Cole off the mountain.
Consider this one native son’s thought in support of his credentials:
“The jazz is as cool as it is hot …obviously Saratoga has a good influence on all aspects of the arts, from dance to theater, from Balanchine to Broderick.”
- David Hyde Pierce
And so, having reached that rarified air of “exemplar,” Cole looked for new worlds to explore.
Those new worlds still involved music, although in different forms. Cole explains “I had a great time with my band mates (during the “Seasons” albums he was billed as the Cole Broderick Quartet), “but I had a strong desire to depend less on others. To achieve this, I went deeper into the piano, as I did when I was in college, actually, to further refine and improve my technique.”
Not that the listener had anything but praise for his phrasing before, mind you. But he was answering to a higher authority – the greats of all time.
“I’d always use my idols in classical and jazz as measuring sticks… guys like Oscar (Peterson), Art Tatum and Vladimir Horowitz.” Cole noted. The result of this measuring led first to the release of In a Dream in 2004, a solo album with 11 new original songs.
The deeper exploration also led to a rekindling of his love for the songs of what is termed the “Great American Songbook”: those timeless classics penned by George Gershwin, Cole Porter et.al.
Which led to regular and ongoing appearances at local “Boomerang” hangouts like Woodlawn at Wesley and the Home of the Good Shepherd; and a rekindling of a teenage love – The Beatles. That led to a release of a solo piano tribute CD in 2009. “I paid the royalties for the music – ouch! But it was worth it,” Cole said.
The recent 50th anniversary of the Fab Four’s arrival in New York coincided with Cole’s latest coming out party, if you will. He recently teamed up with Skidmore Professor and Beatles expert Gordon Thompson on a multi-media tour of seven libraries in the region to deliver a commemorative program about the event and then topped it off with a solo Beatles set within an all-star tribute evening to a capacity crowd at The Egg on Valentines Day.
“It was great to hear the reaction,” Cole said “and makes me feel good about my choices. I believe I’ve gotten the new repertoires down to the point where I can start putting it out live to the public on a regular basis.”
So don’t be surprised if you start seeing Cole Broderick in the music listings more, or even at your friend’s private party. He didn’t go away, he went down a different road to keep his talent stimulated and us entertained. Based on recent results, it was the right move.
But that’s no surprise here. The man who wrote a classic tune as part of “Summer in Saratoga” called On the Horizon has always had the gift of seeing beyond it.
For a listen to some clips or more information, visit colebroderick.com