Freddy Cole

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Freddy Cole on The Jazz Cruise 2009
By Perry Tannenbaum
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Harry Allen and Freddy Cole on 2010 Jazz Party at Sea
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Freddy Cole, Gary Smulyan & Randy Brecker on The Jazz Cruise 2011
By Fran Kaufman
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Singers Nnenna Freelon, Freddy Cole and Nikki Harris aboard The Jazz Cruise 2014
By Rhonda Lane

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Lionel Frederick Cole was born the youngest of Edward and Paulina Nancy Cole’s five children. His three elder brothers, Eddie, Ike and Nat (twelve years Freddy’s senior) were all musicians taught by their mother. Though Freddy was born in Chicago, he is now a 35-year native son and international celebrity of Atlanta.

“I started playing piano at five or six,” Freddy recalls. “Music was all around me.” In the Chicago home of his youth, visitors included Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Lionel Hampton. He also credits Billy Eckstine as a major influence. “He was a fantastic entertainer,” Freddy recalls. “I learned so much from just watching and being around him.” After a possible career with the NFL was shelved due to a severe football related hand injury, he began playing and singing in Chicago clubs as a teenager. Although he was ready to hit the road at 18, his mother intervened and he continued his musical education at the Roosevelt Institute in Chicago.

Freddy moved to New York in 1951, where he studied at the Juilliard School of Music and found himself profoundly influenced by John Lewis, Oscar Peterson and Teddy Wilson. He got a Master’s degree at the New England Conservatory of Music and then spent several months on the road as a member of Earl Bostic’s band that also included Johnny Coles and Benny Golson.

It was back in New York that Freddy successfully laid the groundwork for a career that continues to flourish to this day. He developed a vast repertoire of songs in Manhattan bistros and concurrently began to supplement his live performances with television and radio commercial work.

Freddy recorded several albums for European and English companies during the 1970s that helped him develop a loyal overseas following. Cole believes that becoming an international favorite made him “widen my scope a little bit.” He developed a stand-up act, a better rapport with audiences, and learned to sing in other languages. “It made me much more a performer.”

A resident of Atlanta since 1972, he currently leads a quartet on piano and vocals with guitarist Randy Napoleon, bassist Elias Bailey, and drummer Quentin Baxter, that regularly tours the US, Europe, the Far East, South America and South Africa. Freddy has been a recording artist since 1952, when his first single, “The Joke’s on Me,” was released on an obscure Chicago-based label.

While there are certain unmistakable similarities in timbre to his brother Nat, his voice is raspier, smokier, jazzier even. In truth, his phrasing is far closer to that of Frank Sinatra or Billie Holiday than that of his brother, and his timing swings even more. His vocals – suave, elegant, formidable, sometimes spoken and articulate – make him the most respected lyrical storyteller in jazz. Cole’s career continues to ascend as he has moved into the front ranks of America’s homegrown art form with a style and musical sophistication all his own.

Freddy Cole is one of American popular music’s great performers. Like pop icon Tony Bennett, Cole is a beloved musician’s musician and a living link to the Great American Songbook. While evoking the suave stylings of Earl “Fatha” Hines and Teddy Wilson, Cole is very much his own man, whose toe-tapping forays recall the bluesy minimalism of Count Basie, the urbane sophistication of George Shearing and the uptown swagger of Duke Ellington. – Chuck Berg, The Topeka Capital-Journal

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Artist’s website

freddycolemusic.com

Articles on Freddy Cole

11/20/14    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

Singing the Blues
Freddy Cole

02/05/14    Concerts    By Ken Franckling

Concert Review: Freddy Cole in Naples, Florida

08/09/13    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

This and That
Freddy Cole

01/02/12    Features    By Christopher Loudon

Freddy Cole's Time to Shine

12/01/11    Vox    By Christopher Loudon

Talk To Me
Freddy Cole

08/21/11    News    By Jeff Tamarkin

NJ’s SOPAC Announces 2011-12 Season Jazz Concerts

04/03/11    News    By Lee Mergner

The Jazz Cruise: All Aboard for Jazz

12/08/10    Photos    By JazzTimes

10th Annual Jazz Party at Sea

October 2010    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

Freddy Cole Sings Mr. B
Freddy Cole

October 2010    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

Freddy Cole Sings Mr. B
Freddy Cole

May 2010    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

The Dreamer in Me
Freddy Cole

May 2010    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

The Dreamer in Me
Freddy Cole

November 2007    Vox    By Christopher Loudon

Music, Maestro, Please!
Freddy Cole

02/26/07    Concerts    By Doug Ramsey

Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival

October 2006    Vox    By Harvey Siders

Because of You
Freddy Cole

October 2006    Vox    By Harvey Siders

Because of You
Freddy Cole

October 2005    Vox    By Christopher Loudon

This Love of Mine
Freddy Cole

October 2005    Vox    By Christopher Loudon

This Love of Mine
Freddy Cole

November 2004    Vox    By Christopher Loudon

I'm Not My Brother, I'm Me
Freddy Cole

November 2004    Vox    By Christopher Loudon

I'm Not My Brother, I'm Me
Freddy Cole

April 2003    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

In the Name of Love
Freddy Cole

June 2002    Albums    By Owen Cordle

Secret Ellington
Various Artists

November 2001    Albums    By Mike Quinn

Rio de Janiero Blue
Freddy Cole

December 2000    Albums    By Sean Daly

Merry Go Round
Freddy Cole

October 2000    Albums    By Joel Siegel

Le Grande Freddy
Freddy Cole

July/August 1999    Albums    By Nancy Ann Lee

Love Makes the Changes
Freddy Cole

November 1997    Albums    By Owen Cordle

It's Crazy, But I'm in Love
Freddy Cole

September 1997    Albums    By Patricia Myers

To the Ends of The Earth
Freddy Cole

May 1997    Briefs    By Sunsh Stein

Live at Vartan Jazz
Freddy Cole

Albums

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Love Makes the Changes

Fantasy Records

Live at Vartan Jazz

Vartan Jazz
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To the Ends of The Earth

Fantasy Records
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It's Crazy, But I'm in Love

After 9 Records
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Le Grande Freddy

Fantasy Records
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Merry Go Round

Telarc
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Rio de Janiero Blue

Telarc
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In the Name of Love

Telarc

I’m Not My Brother, I’m Me

HighNote Records
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I'm Not My Brother, I'm Me

HighNote Records

A Love Affair: The Music of Ivan Lins

Telarc
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This Love of Mine

HighNote Records
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Because of You

HighNote Records
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Secret Ellington

True Life
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Music, Maestro, Please!

HighNote Records
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The Dreamer in Me

HighNote Records
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Freddy Cole Sings Mr. B

HighNote Records
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