Paula Cole's fourth album, Courage, is about starting over. A more collaborative effort than any of her previous discs, the elegant Courage finds Cole working with a host of writers and players, and balances piano-based pop with her first true musical love: jazz. The album's title, she says, encapsulates just what she needed to pull this record off, as the disc arrives at the end of a soul-searching, and at times soul-crushing period during which she contemplated ending her music career.
But in 2005, when an old acquaintance and producer Bobby Colomby (Blood, Sweat & Tears, Jaco Pastorius, The Jacksons) asked Cole to sing on several tracks on trumpeter Chris Botti's When I Fall In Love album, the joy of music began to return: When I was singing with him, it was like music was fun again, she says. I sang a lot of jazz when I was in college�I wanted to be kind of like a female Chet Baker or something so it was so fun to sing these songs again, to record music live, you know, where you get it in one or two takes, and that's it.
Colomby quickly became the one who kind of led me out from under the rock, Cole says, noting that he pushed Cole to open herself up creatively like never before. She played less piano, thanks to the likes of Billy Childs, David Foster, Jeff Lorber and Herbie Hancock (who guests on the track, Lonelytown), and she co-wrote songs for the first time in her career. She penned with Dean Parks, Mark Goldenberg, Jeremy Lubbock, Patrick Leonard and Jeff Lorber.