Freddy Cole at the RRAZZ ROOM in San Francisco

A Valentine's Message for everyone


February 18, 2012

Freddy Cole-This is for real

A performance at the RRAZZ ROOM, on February 13, 2012

There is no question that Freddy’s brother, Nat King Cole, was one of the great jazz and popular musicians. He not only was a great jazz piano player, but also had a voice that was unique to popular music. Indeed, the only other popular artist of his time that could rival him was Frank Sinatra.

So seeing Freddy, Nat’s brother, at the RRAZZ ROOM in San Francisco, was a chance to be with jazz royalty. If Nat was the King, Freddie is the Duke, The Count or the King in waiting. It is significant that Freddie released a CD that is titled, “I’m not my brother, I’m me.” He has spent his lifetime under the significant shadow of his brother, whose relatively brief career, was one of the most astounding.

But that hasn’t changed the fact that Freddy is very much his own man. And though he sounds like Nat to a degree, he has fashioned a vocal style that was very much influenced and shaped by his love for the music of Billy Eckstine. Now Billy was someone who could blow away an audience and he put together the very first bop band. But the real connection is the wonderful line between the two men that defines a vision of romance that was unique to the time, and still relevant in ours.

So the fact that Freddy was playing on Valentine’s Day and week was a wonderful chance to experience one of the great soulful performers of our day. Now hearing the music of this performer interpret the songs that he prefers is the result of a lifetime of experience. And Mr. Cole has a natural musicality that belies the fact that he is a highly educated and disciplined musician.

He picks his songs carefully to surprise and delight us. Whether is is “It’s Crazy, I’m In Love,”, “Your sensational” or “When my pretty one found me,” each tune has a story, a connection or a meaning that we can dream with or research later on.

His band, with Elias Bailey on bass, Curtis Boyd on drums and the youthful Randy Napoleon on guitar, provides a wonderful support and inspiration for Freddy.

Finally, something has to be said about a man who is this much fun to listen to and be around. Freddy Cole might be from a royal line, but he is also so very old school in his willingness to share with us his delight in telling the story of what love is all about. Because inside each of these songs is a gentle message for all: Love, is the refuge and inspiration of all great art, and it has inspired joyous expression exactly like this. Freddy, thank you for sharing the love.

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Ken V