Chicago-based Nick Colionne has a special fate. This mysterious musician  always released his albums on labels with misfortune. His first albums It's My Turn, Arrival and The Seduction were released on the Lake Shore Jazz label. That label folded. His next album Just Come On In was released on the Three Keys Music label. Most of you knows the development of this record label too. When I reviewed his following album Keepin' It Cool (2006), I wrote about these problems. No one awaited that Narada Records would close its jazz section too.

You can't keep a good man down. So Nick Colionne is back again, stronger and better than ever. His new album No Limits was released July 8th, 2008 on Koch Records. Nick comments his new album: "I like to call No Limits an adventure because I wanted to explore doing some different things with my music and not limit myself to genre or style of playing. I'm playing over some different grooves, setting some unique moods and incorporating sounds from other genres, but I#m still staying true to who I am. There's still my own vibe on the guitar shining through. Besides exploring my passion as a vocalist more than ever before, I wanted No Limits to be a closer reflection of the diversity and spirit of my live shows."

Undoubtedly Nick is an in-demand live performer with a repertory from r&b, contemporary jazz to blues and soul. Striking is also his appearance. His tailored, colorful outfits have earned him raves as the "best dressed man in jazz". The experience of more than 100 stunning live dates a year is mirrored on his new album. Most of the tracks were recorded with longtime members of his band, John Blasucci (keyboards) and Dave Hiltebrand (bass). He also teamed up with further legends of the music scene like Jim Peterik (The Eye Of The Tiger) and Paul Richmond (Shining Star).

No Limits starts with power and energy. A force in the style of the Steve Miller band combined with the elegance of George Benson. The retro-disco funky Steppin' Back reminds of the music of the O'Jays (Back Stabbers). I love this good old Philly sound.

The Big Windy Cat is a homage at Nick's hometown Chicago. Nick's second home are the chords of his beloved guitars, the Epiphone Broadway Elitist and the Gibson L-4. The heartfelt ballade Melting Into You opens the view on Nick's second talent, his matured vocals. He has a similar timbre like the late Jon Lucien (Endless Is Love). Nick co-wrote this tune with Jim Peterik, former member of the group Survivor.

On Until Tonight Nick tells a story of a date in the warm summer night. Smooth guitar chords spell the words of love. Even Hard Line isn't so hard as awaited. This is Nick's second bluesy vocal title and anew a co-operation with Jim Peterik. Nick is obviously walking on B.B. King's path and he follows his footprints.

Nick wrote Ports Of Call together with Dave Hiltebrand during their third cruise to the Caribbean. There is a remarkable influence of Wes Montgomery similar as the late Zachary Breaux (Cafe Reggio).  The syncopated On The Edge showcases more of Nick Colionne's grandeur as guitarist and the professionalism of his group.

Headin' Wes Before Dawn is dedicated to Wes Montgomery, Nick's most important idol. "The main thing was like, I listened to a lot of Wes Montgomery's stuff all the time, even now," Colionne said. "His style of playing really gets to me. I try to put myself in his frame of mind a lot of times. 'Where would he go here?' Because Wes, more often than not would avoid going to the obvious note at the end of a phrase. Where a lot of people would end a phrase on the root, I noticed that Wes would end a phrase on the sixth or ninth degree of the scale, which is kind of funny. It makes it stand out."  Another good example of this Wes-inspired style is Take A Walk With Me.

Edgy and funky performs Nick Godfather J. A tribute to the great James Brown. Mark Ohlsen (trumpet) and James Perkins (sax) did a terrific job by creating the significant James Brown sound. The album is finished by a vocal and an instrumental version of Anyway, a song written and produced by Paul Richmond. He is a Grammy-nominated bassist, songwriter and producer with a rich history.

Nick Colionne is a trademark for top-quality. Nick comments: "This whole project is very personal to me, it's how I feel about music in general and my music in particular. There should be no limits to where music can go, and I've taken it from jazz to the blues to R&B to funk and thrown in some pretty cool vocals on top of all that - I love it, and I hope you do, too." You can listen to this energetic vibe in every note on this album.



  • Bio
  • Nick Colionne's website
  • CD available
    • in all stores
  • Further reviews:
  • Album information:

    Title: No Limits
    Artist: Nick Colionne
    Year: 2008
    Length: 0:54:24
    Genre: Smooth Jazz
    Label: Koch Records

    01 No Limits [3:40]
    02 Steppin' Back [4:07]
    03 The Big Windy Cat [3:57]
    04 Melting Into You [4:59]
    05 Until Tonight [3:44]
    06 Hard Line [4:28]
    07 Ports Of Call [4:28]
    08 On The Edge [3:50]
    09 Headin' Wes Before Dawn [4:35]
    10 Take A Walk With Me [3:48]
    11 Godfather J [4:04]
    12 Anyway (Vocal) [4:24]
    13 Anyway (Instrumental) [4:21]