Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z

Cole, Bill (William Shadrack)

Cole, Bill (William Shadrack), musicians, composer, educator, writer; b. 3243 Parkview Ave, Pittsburgh, PA, 11 October 1937. His father was William Lucious Cole, 1896-1961, Pittsburgh, PA. His mother, a singer, was Gladys Alice Seel Cole 1902-1997, Staten Island, New York. His sister was Ethel Mae Cole Harris 1921-1974, Pittsburgh, PA. He also has a brother, George Robert Cole 1936 - Pittsburgh, PA. He is married to Sarah E. Sully and has four children: Atticus S. Cole (1969), percussionist, Zena Cole (1971), Jayne S. SullyCole (1987) and Althea W. SullyCole (1990).

His first education was from his mother teaching him songs. In the 1950s, Sonny Clark taught him piano. He studied cello with Theo Salzman in 1960. He attended the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA: A.B., 5/67. Received education from Clifford Thornton at Shenai & Sona, 1970-1. He graduated from University of Pittsburgh with an M.A. in Musicology, 12/70.  His thesis was "The Improvisations of Miles Davis," the first African-American music study at the University. He then studied composition with Sam Rivers 1971-2. At Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, he got his Ph.D. in African-American Music, World Music Department. He was Administrative Coordinator of African-American Music Program.  His dissertation was "The Style of John Coltrane," defended and accepted with Highest Honors, 6/74. He studied West African Drumming with Abraham Adzinyah and Traditional African Life Style with Chief Fela Sowande (l972-l987). He received an honorary degree at Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH: Master of Arts, 5/87.

Bill Cole, musician, composer, educator, and writer, has organized concerts ranging from Town Hall and Symphony Space in New York to Broadway Performance in Seattle and Hopkins Center in Hanover, New Hampshire. For the last eight years, Dr. Cole has led The Untempered Ensemble and has served as Artistic Director of the organization Shadrack, Inc. He has performed and recorded with such artists as Ornette Coleman, Jayne Cortez, Julius Hemphill, Fred Ho, Sam Rivers, and James Blood Ulmer. He has written highly acclaimed compositions for large and small groups: "The Seven Cycles," "Freedom," "1863," and "Seasoning the Greens." Dr. Cole's primary instruments are Asian double reed horns, including Chinese sonas, Korean hojok and piri, Indian shenai and nagaswarm, as well as the Ghanaian bamboo flute, Tibetan trumpet, and digeridoo. He holds Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University. Dr. Cole was a full professor at Dartmouth College's Music Department before his retirement.

The Untempered Ensemble, an improvisational Jazz ensemble, was formed in 1992 as a trio and gave its first performance in the fall of 1993 at Dartmouth College. The group expanded to its current 7-musician ensemble in 1994 and that year performed at the Improvisers Collective Festival in New York. Since 1996, the ensemble has played every year at the Vision Festival in New York, in addition to performing nationally to rave reviews.
His son, Atticus Shadrack Cole began studying music at the age of 6.  His father introduced him to his colleague, Ghanaian Master drummer Abraham Adzinyah, with whom Atticus began studying West African music in the oral tradition.  Atticus received private instruction from Mr. Adzinyah and became a member of the West African drumming ensemble at the age of 7. He worked extensively with the ensemble, studying song, dance and drumming techniques. He continued his studies with master drummer Hafiz Shabazz, who became his mentor, learning West African, Afro- Cuban, and Brazilian music. Atticus received a scholarship to Berklee College of Music, where he studied jazz composition. Atticus Cole's playing has supported such artists as DeLaSoul, Julius Hemphill, LL Cool J, KRS-One, Maceo Parker, SouLive, and WAR. He has worked with his father for over 2O years, meanwhile maintaining his own original Hip-hop group The Formula, and also playing with The Grace Singers, a gospel group based in Boston, MA.

Atticus Cole can be contacted at shadrack33@hotmail.com.

Professional Experience:
1972-1974:      Assistant Professor of Black Studies, Amherst College, Amherst, MA.  Taught world music course and seminar on the music of John Coltrane; collaborated in Black Studies introduction course and American music course.
Eric and Ina Johnson Visiting Professor in the Humanities, Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA.  First to be awarded the chair.  Taught courses in African-American music and delivered public lectures on Native American music; organized two improvisational ensembles, 1/72-5/72.
1977-1980:      Producer-Director, Vermont Public Radio: "Jazz with Bill Cole," a nightly jazz and world music program.
1972-1983:      Founder and Director, the John Coltrane Memorial World Music Lecture/Demonstration Series.  Visiting Professor, University of California, Berkeley, Afro-American Studies Department, 1/82 - 3/82.
1978-1988:      Executive Director, 'Wind and Thunder.' Member New England Foundation for the Arts Touring Roster (1985-1988) and Vermont Council on the Arts Touring Roster (1983-1988).
1974-1990:      Professor of Music, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH. Tenure awarded 1979; created four World Music Series courses, seminar on the music of John Coltrane, and course on Oral Musicianship; co-created American Music in the Oral Tradition course; Chair of the Music Department 1980-1983; elected to the Committee on Instruction: 1984-1987; elected to the Council on Academic Freedom and Responsibility: 1988-1990.
1995-1996:      Adjunct Professor of Elementary Education, Lehman College, City University of New York.
Composer and performer on double reed horns: Nagaswarm (India), Shenai (India), Chinese Sonas, Korean Hojok and Piris, Ghanaian bamboo flute, Bali Suling, Digeridoo (Philippines and Australia), Tibetan Trumpet.
Present: Co-founder and Artistic Director, Shadrack Inc., a non-profit organization presenting the works of artists of color. Founder, 'Untempered Ensemble,' an improvisational ensemble.

Recordings:
First Cycle (1980); The Untempered Trio: The Untempered Trio (1992); The Untempered Ensemble: Vision Festival excerpts from Seasoning the Greens (1997), Duets and Solos, Volumes I and II (2001), Seasoning the Greens (2002)

As sideperson:
Jayne Cortez: Unsubmissive Blues (1980), There It Is (1982), Everywhere Drums (1990)

Selected Compositions:
"The Living Lives Not Among the Dead.  Why Seek It There? Words by Felad Sowande, music by Bill Cole.
"The Short Life of Amadou Diallo," May 1999.
Music for "Cocca Mocca," featuring Douglas Dunn and Dancers, April 1998.
"Struggles Of Fanny Lou Hamer," 1996.
"Seasoning the Greens," 1994.
"Freedom 1863, A Fable," 1993.
"Bill Cole presents Yoruba Proverbs": 55 pieces based on Yoruba proverbs, 1987-present.
Music for film by Rudy Burkhardt: "Rubble Dances," featuring Douglas Dunn and Dancers, Summer 1991.
Collaboration with Douglas Dunn, Summer 1990.
Music for play "The Bacchae," Errol Hill, Dir., Dartmouth College, May 1989.
Work for film "A Way of Learning," Alanis Obomsawin, Dir., Fall 1988.
Compositions for improvisational ensemble Wind and Thunder, 1978-1988.
Seven major works entitled "Cycles," 1975-1982.

Broadcasts:
WHUS, Storrs, CT; interview syndicated nationally in conjunction with New England Foundation for the Arts; 5/92.
ABC, "20/20;" 10/90.
CBS, "Sixty Minutes;" 11/88.
National Public Radio, "Morning Edition;" 6/88.
Public Broadcasting System, "Frontline;" 5/88.
Voice of America; 9/86.

Bibliography:
Forthcoming Publications:
"The Sound of Blackness: African American Music;" in Americans from Africa. History Culture and Society; William R. Scott and William Shade, eds.
"Black Professors and White Students on White Campuses;" in Terrorism in Academia: Black Professors Under Siege; Dr. Letha See, ed.
Works by Cole:
John Coltrane, published by Schirmer Books, Inc., December 1976. Translated into Japanese, 1984. Reprinted by Da Capo Press, 1993.  Third Edition published Fall, 2001.
Miles Davis: A Musical Biography, published by William Morrow and Company, September 1974. Translated into Japanese, 1975. Translated into Swedish, 1976. Reprinted by De Capo Press, 1994, as Miles Davis, the Early Years.
Articles on John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Fats Navarro, and Roy Eldridge; in the Encyclopedia of African American History and Culture; MacMillan Publishing Co., Dec. 1995.
"Julius Hemphill," The Saxophone Journal, Spring 1987, pp. 26-31.
"Wind and Thunder," The Western Journal of Black Studies, Winter 1986, pp. 193-194.
"Alice Coltrane," New Groves Dictionary of Music, September 1986.
"The World Saxophone Quartet - A Unique Springboard," The Saxophone Journal, Spring 1986, pp. 43-46.
Review of Jah Music by Sebastian Clarke, published in Explorations in Sights and Sounds, March 1983, the National Association of Interdisciplinary Ethnic Studies, California State Polytechnic University.
"Improvisation in Music - A Black's View," published in Free Spirits: Annals of the Insurgent Imagination, City Lights Books, San Francisco, Summer 1982.
"Giving Programs in School Assemblies in the Mid-West," Campus Magazine, Spring 1980, pp. 37-40.
Music Editor of Massachusetts Review, Fall 1973.  A quarterly of literature, arts and public affairs.
Articles of criticism published in CODA, 1972-1973.
Freelance writing for Down Beat Magazine, 1970-1972.  Over 45 articles of criticism published.  Personal column, Fall 1971.
In progress:
The History of the Oral Tradition in Jazz, a text book.
Biography of Fela Sowande.
We Support You Professor Cole: experiences at Dartmouth College.
Biography of Julius Hemphill.

Awards:
$450 - Meet The Composer; 1996-1998.
$2,000 - Real Art Ways, for performance of compositions in Burlington, VT; 1988.
$2,500 - Hewitt Fund, Dartmouth College, to support Fela Sowande memorial series; 1988.
$6,300 - National Endowment for the Arts, to support the Coltrane Series; 1982.
$9,100 - New Hampshire Council for the Humanities, for ten Humanities Forums throughout New Hampshire; 1981.
$11,500 - National Endowment for the Arts, to support the Coltrane Series; 1976-1981.
Nominated for Guggenheim Award; October 1977.
$2,000 - Friends of the Hopkins Center, Dartmouth College, to support Coltrane Series; 1977 and 1979.
$1,500 - National Endowment for the Arts, to write a composition in four parts; Spring, 1975.
$11,600 - Dartmouth College, for independent research; 1974-1990.
$2,000 - Amherst College, for independent research and materials; Summer through Fall, 1973.
$2,500 - National Endowment for the Arts, matching grant to continue the John Coltrane Memorial World Music Lecture Demonstration Series; Fall 1973.
$750 - National Endowment for the Arts, for two non-literate compositions; Spring 1973.
$2,500 - National Endowment for the Arts, matching grant to develop at Amherst College the John Coltrane Memorial World Music Lecture Demonstration Series; Fall, 1972.
$2,000 - National Endowment for the Arts, matching grant to support visiting artists at Wesleyan University; Spring 1971.

Contact information:
William S. Cole
184 Pinebrook Blvd.
New Rochelle, New York 10804
914.235.1592
e-mail: ShadInc@aol.com
billcole@shadrck.org
www.shadrack.org/billcole.htm

Back to Top