Nick Colionne – Just Come On In
Nick Colionne – Just Come On In
|Craig “Craigy- G” Fitzpatrick
An invitation has been extended.
Everyone knows that Chicago is renowned for its great jazz heritage and free, summertime outdoor music festivals, not to mention the world famous “Taste of Chicago” food and music extravaganza. But some of the best acts can be found in some of the much smaller venues such as radio station WNUA 95.5 FM’s “Smooth Jazz Thursdays” concert series at the Park Grill in Chicago’s new Millennium Park. One artist who has been something of a regular at this event and elsewhere on the local jazz scene is guitarist Nick Colionne (pronounced co-lee-own).
Nick may be a relative stranger to the vast listening public but this gifted performer has not gone unnoticed within the jazz community. Epiphone guitars, a division of Gibson, have endorsed him and many feel (this reviewer included) that he is poised to reach national, if not international prominence. Nick’s clear, concise, and articulate yet musical style has allowed followers to compare his music to that of the late Wes Montgomery. His innovative and airy technique combined with a penchant for rendering a musical tapestry makes his latest recording on the Three Keys Music label, “Just Come On In” an impressive work of art. Nick has shared the stage with a list of stellar performers such as the Staple Singers, Curtis Mayfield, and Natalie Cole, just to name a few.
His career began when he was only nine years old. He learned to play the guitar from his stepfather and was so proficient that at age 15 he decided to turn pro. He was often the youngest member of the group and had to wear a mascara moustache to convince his contemporaries that he was of age. His parents made sure that education came first and in true Corleone, make that Colionne fashion, made him an offer that he couldn’t refuse: “If you stay in school and graduate then you can continue to play in the band.” Well fortunately for us, Nick didn’t need his parents to consider other alternatives.
“Just Come On In,” is Nick’s fourth CD and in my opinion his best work so far. It’s a compilation of fresh ideas that are the essence of smooth jazz. A number of tracks on the disc are original compositions and are so compelling that you will frequently hit the repeat button. The title track is refined, open and has the freshness of a cool summer sea breeze. Saxophonist Steve Zoloto is excellent in his background role and helps to steer the very melodic rhythm of this tune. Because You Love Me, features Nick getting his romantic groove on while pianist Mike Logan delivers a mellow but comforting performance. It’s a nice piece of work that demonstrates Nick’s ability to incorporate other artists. The synergy between the two is wonderful. From the Wes Side is a tribute to, whom else, Wes Montgomery. This is an original tune that captures the musical fabric of Wes while maintaining its smooth jazz heritage. The radio-listening public has endorsed my personal favorite, the appropriately titled High Flying. Listening to this tune I am easily set high above the California coastline completely engaged in Nick’s invigorating guitar work. The notes just seem to float in the air. This is typical of what you will hear on this CD and is quickly becoming the signature of his sound.
If you have a passion for smooth jazz, enjoy toe-tapping harmonic structures with an added spice of urban-contemporary rhythm that is reminiscent of Wes Montgomery, then I think you will want to give Nick some consideration. Nick’s charismatic style and fun-loving approach to his craft are greatly appreciated and it’s just a matter of time before his name is mentioned among the ranks of the top jazz guitarist. So if you fancy the sounds of smooth jazz guitar check out this CD or better still seek Nick Colionne out in a local jazz venue. I’m sure that he and his sweet Epiphone, will be happy to have you “just come on in” and enjoy some really great music. Happy Listening!
We welcome any readers comments or suggestions for other audiophile CD favorites for upcoming Stereo Times reviews. Please contact Craig at firstname.lastname@example.org
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