Richie Cole / Alto Madness Orchestra
Gig Seeker Pro

Richie Cole / Alto Madness Orchestra


Band Jazz Jazz


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Larris Hollis"

Back in his alto madness days, Richie Cole played my hometown more than any other name Jazz musician. The first time it was just him and the late Eddie Jefferson with a pickup group. The latter was a salty old cuss; he dusted my broom on the pool table and had a few choice words about fellow singers (“Al Jarreau? Good voice, can’t sing changes”). I remember their chart of “Body & Soul” dropping to the floor on both sides of the grand piano. Next time Cole showed up with a rhythm section of Dick Hindman, Paul Warburton, and Colin Bailey but the third time it was with what was arguably his best band and the one featured on The Man With the Horn. This is the previously unreleased debut recording of this particular unit in action at Frisco’s Russian Hill Recording Studio. The tune list is in keeping with Richie’s eclectic whims of the time including a great version of the old war-horse “Peg Of My Heart” and the seldom heard title tune. Cole’s sometimes off-the-wall altoing and Bobby Enriquez’s karate chops, elbows and fist punches to the piano are often wisely separated by Bruce Forman’s big-bodied guitaring which allows everyone to get their breath. The pianist is featured on a fairly lengthy “Slaughter On Tenth Avenue” and things smooth down for a good reading of Buddy Johnson’s “Save Your Love For Me.” There is a video of this same group at the Village Vanguard from the same year that is worth getting. Richie and his combo were very entertaining in person and they turned a lot of younger listeners on to the joys of blazing Bebop. A nice souvenir of the band.
- Cadence

"Samuel Chell"

Alto saxophonist Richie Cole is the last of a breed—a fast and competitive musical gunslinger acquiring near-legendary status for his willingness to demonstrate his command of Charlie Parker's bebop language by taking on all comers at any speed—Billy the Kid packing an alto instead of a revolver.
- AllAboutJazz

"C. Michael Bailey"

Risë's Rose Garden is a compelling, if not profound, statement of Richie Cole’s vision of “Alto Madness,” the saxophonist’s respectful allusion to the Sonny Rollins/John Coltrane lower reed affliction. The disc was recorded in the wake of Cole’s wife’s death last year—and if, as paraphrased by the late Will Durant, the greatest beauty is begat of heartbreak, then Risë's Rose Garden exists as a temporal definition of this process.
- AllAboutJazz


Year Title Label
2007 The Man with the Horn - Jazz Excursion Records
2006 Risë's Rose Garden - Jazz Excursion Records
2006 A Piece of Jazz History - Jazz Excursion Records
2005 Back on Top - Jazz Excursion Records
2004 Tribute to Our Buddies - Fresh Sounds
2003 A Tribute to Buddy Rich - Fresh Sounds
2003 It's the Same Thing Everywhere - DJAZ Records
2002 Bebop Express - Alto Madness Records
2000 Just in Case You Forgot How Bad He Really Was w/ Sonny Stitt - 32 Jazz
2000 The Hep Squad-Cartoon Series Soundtrack - Alto Mandess Records
2000 Trenton Style Introducing the Alto Madness Orchestra - Alto Madness Records
2000 Pure Madness - 32 Jazz
1998 Come Sunday - Alto Madness Records
1998 Live at Douglas Beach House 1978 - Culture Press
1998 Richie & Phil & Richie - 32 Jazz
1996 West Side Story - Music Masters
1994 The Kush: Music of Dizzy Gillespie - Heads Up
1993 Profile - Heads Up
1990 Richie Cole With His South African Brothers - Johanessberg, SA
1989 Richie Cole in Leningrad - ME Records
1989 The Many faces of Bird - Polygram Records
1988 Back to Birdland w/ Freddie Hubbard
1988 Signature - Milestone
1987 Pop Bop - Milestone
1987 Bossa International - Milestone
1986 Pure Imagination - Concord Jazz
1985 Bossa Nova Eyes - Palo Alto
1984 Richie Cole Meets Sonny Stitt in Australia featuring Jack Wilson - Au
1984 Vocalese w/ Manhatten Transfer - Atlantic Records
1984 Satisfaction Guaranteed w/ Mark Murphy - Muse
1982 Mecca for Modern w/ Manhatten Transfer - Atlantic Records
1982 Stolen Moments w/ Mark Murphy Muse
1982 Return to Alto Acres - Palo Alto
1982 Alto Annie's Theme - Palo Alto
1982 Yakety Madness! w/ Boots Randolph - Palo Alto
1982 Yakety Sax - Palo Alto
1981 The Wildman Meets the Mad Man w/ Bobby Enriquez - GNP Records
1981 Selena Jones w/ Richie Cole Alto Madness in Japan - JVC Records
1981 Crime and Punishment - Alto Madness Music
1981 Tokyo Madness Live in Tokyo - Seven Seas
1981 Some Things Speak for Themselves - Muse
1981 Cool "C" - Muse
1981 Alive! at the Village Vanguard - Muse
1980 Side by Side w/ Phil Woods and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis - Muse
1979 Hollywood Madness w/ Manhatten Transfer, Tom Waits and Eddie Jefferson - Muse
1978 Red Rodney Rides Again w/ Red Rodney - Muse
1978 Keeper of the Flame - Muse
1978 Richie Cole Live at Half Moon Bay w/ Eddie Jefferson - Pete Douglas
1977 Battle of the Saxes w/ Eric Kloss - Muse
1977 The Main man w/ Eddie Jefferson - Inner City
1977 Alto Madness w/ Eddie Jefferson - Muse
1976 The Liveliest w/ Eddie Jefferson - Muse
1976 Still on the Planet with Eddie Jefferson - Muse
1976 Starburst - Adelphi Records
1976 Battle of Saxes, Vol. 1 - Muse
1976 New York Afternoon: Alto Madness - Muse
1975 Trenton Makes, the World Takes - Progressive
1970 Keep the Customer Satisfied w/ The Buddy Rich Big Band - Liberty Records
1969 Buddy and Soul w/ The Buddy Rich Big Band - World Pacific Jazz



Jazz bebop-master Richie Cole, a Berklee graduate, began his serious professional career in 1969 when he joined the Buddy Rich Big Band as lead saxophone. Later, Cole toured with the Lionel Hampton Big Band and went on to join the Doc Severinsen Big Band, which appeared regularly on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. In 1975 Richie teamed with the great Eddie Jefferson and worked with him until Jefferson’s death four years later.

Cole has performed with Manhattan Transfer, Bobby Enriquez, Freddie Hubbard, Sonny Stitt, Art Pepper, Boots Randolph, and Nancy Wilson, to name just a few of his musical collaborations, and has toured all over the world.

The Alto Madness Orchestra was developed by Richie in the early 90's and its continuing popularity is proof of its uniqueness. The idea of the Orchestra is the concept and sound of an eighteen-piece big band using only seven instruments, four of which are horns. Not only does this have the big band ensemble sound, it also allows plenty of room for improvisation as if in a quartet setting.

Cole’s ability goes far beyond mesmerizing the audience with his saxophone because he does all the composing and arranging, having amassed over five thousand of the latter. With over 50 CD recordings (see below) and more on the way, he also finds time to arrange for full big bands and Symphony Orchestras, and he provides jazz workshops to students at the high-school, graduate and post-graduate levels.

The Alto Madness Orchestra and Cole's Quartet/Quintet are available for special Sonicbids bookings, so put your request in today!!