Acclaimed as a formidable and highly individualistic bassist, composer, and bandleader Cole Birney-Stewart is one of the most prolific young Canadian musicians on the scene today. His musical focus is on the intersection of jazz improvisation, contemporary classical, metal and Karnatic classical music. While adventurous and uncompromising in spirit, his music retains a large degree of accessibility and melodicism.
Cole began playing the electric bass and voraciously learning music theory at age 12. Upon completion of high school, he studied at Vancouver's Capilano University with many great musicians including Brad Turner, Chad Makela, Tom Wherrett, Andre Lachance, Darren Radtke and Bill Coon, as well as many others. It was during this time that Cole started to play the acoustic bass and compose seriously.
Cole completed his undergraduate education at Montreal's McGill University. He studied with the great Canadian bassists Fraser Hollins & Alec Walkington. Other teachers during this time include Remi Bolduc, Chet Doxas, Jan Jarcyzk, Jim Doxas, Remi-Jean LeBlanc, Josh Rager, Steve Amirault & Carlos Jiminez, amongst others.
Cole has also taken one-off lesssons with Ari Hoening, Jean-Michel Pilc & Miles Okazaki.
Cole has been a leading various formations of groups that play his original music since 2011. His first album, "Champlain Bridge" is scheduled for release on August 27, 2017. It is for a sextet featuring alto & tenor saxophone, guitar, piano, bass & drums. The band features some of the best younger musicians on the Montreal scene today: Jules Payette, Evan Shay, Maxime Tremblay-Rheault, Matt Choboter & Andrew Thomson. The music is inspired by contemporary NYC jazz, metal & contemporary classical musc.
A new project of Cole's is entitled Phantasmagoria, again featuring the core piano trio of Matt Choboter & Andrew Thomson. Rounding out the group are two the best alto saxophonists on the Montreal scene today: Erik Hove & Samuel Blais. The music is abstract and challenging: it is inspired primarily by contemporary classical & Karnatic classical music. The music explores mathematical structures, modeling of natural phenomenon and post-tonal harmony.
Cole has many other ideas for projects featuring the best musicians on the Montreal scene that are waiting to be realized. He is also working on setting up some collaborations with some of today's best musicians from NYC & India.
Cole frequently plays bass in the great pianist and composer Matt Choboter's original projects. He collaborates sporadically with numerous other Montreal-based musicians.