Freddy Cole Quartet, Mon. January 21, 2013
Freddy Cole Quartet
Monday, January 21
“A true gentleman of song…” – JazzTimes
In his youth, Freddy Cole aspired to play pro football until an injury ended that dream. Football’s loss has been music’s gain. For six decades, Cole has been scoring musical “touchdowns” with one of the smoothest singing voices around. Like his older brother, the late Nat King Cole, he also plays excellent piano. Although comparisons to Nat may seem inevitable, Freddy points to vocalist Billy Eckstine as his main influence and inspiration. Sophisticated phrasing, matched with an undeniable sense of groove, is Freddy Cole’s calling card. With roots deep in the jazz tradition of Ellington and Basie, he keeps the music swinging at all times. Talk To Me is his latest CD.
The youngest of five children, Freddy Cole vigorously pursued athletics until an injury put him on the sidelines. But, after reluctantly giving up football, it wasn’t exactly a surprise that he turned to music. Cole had grown up in a musical household surrounded by siblings practicing their instruments or singing. His three older brothers, including Nat, were musicians, and Freddy he had been playing piano since the age of five. Famous musicians, such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Lionel Hampton, would visit his family’s home. Superstar vocalist, and bandleader, Billy Eckstine was a huge influence on Cole’s decision to sing professionally. The charismatic Eckstine personified all that was sophisticated about musical entertainment in the ’40s. Eckstine had also started one of the first big bands to play the new jazz called “bebop.” Although Freddy, still in his teens, was already performing around his hometown of Chicago as a professional musician, his mother made sure that he received formal music education through Chicago’s Roosevelt Institute. At 20, Cole went to New York to study at the Juilliard School of Music. At this time, pianists John Lewis, Oscar Peterson, and Teddy Wilson were major influences on his keyboard style. He went on to receive his Master’s degree from the New England Conservatory of Music before hitting the road with Earl Bostic’s band. Once off the road, in New York City, Cole further honed his skills as a solo performer at bistros around town. It was valuable experience, allowing him to further develop his piano skills and expand his repertoire. Before long he found he could pick up extra work as a vocalist, recording commercial jingles for television and radio.
These days Cole, a longtime resident of Atlanta, Georgia, tours internationally on a regular basis, flying to Asia, South America, and Europe to entertain eager audiences. Not surprisingly, the tours have earned him a loyal following overseas. On the homefront, Cole continues to champion the jazz tradition, singing familiar standards and showcasing lesser known gems. With such an incredible repertoire of songs spanning the decades, Freddy is never at a loss to capture the mood with just the right tune. And the years have only deepened the warm tone of his expressive voice. The tasteful, inventive piano playing that is his trademark – whether accompanying or soloing – reveals a performer of depth and maturity. Come hear for yourself why Freddy Cole, one of the jazz world’s best kept secrets, is one of the most entertaining artists in jazz today.
Freddy Cole Quartet
DATE: Monday, January 21, 2013
PLACE: Kuumbwa Jazz Center
ADDRESS: 320 Cedar St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
TIME: 7:00 PM
PRICE: $25/Adv $28/Door, No Comps
TICKETS: Logos Books & Records, 1117 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz (831) 427-5100 and online at: http://www.kuumbwajazz.org
MORE INFO: http://www.kuumbwajazz.org or 831-427-2227
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