Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mr. Freddie Cole: The Greatest Living Jazz Singer.

Lionel Frederick Cole, born October 15, 1931 in Chicago, was the fifth child to bless the harmonious household of Edward and Pelina Cole. By the age of five, under the benevolent guidance of his father, a minister, and his musically inclined mother, he started to play the family piano.

Masterful vocalist and pianist, Freddy Cole captivates listeners with his elegant presence, subtle phrasing, and intimate singing style. Although he has been charming audiences in the States and abroad for over 40 years, Freddy did not find wider acclaim until the 1990s.

Having a family member already in the limelight has its mixed-blessings. For much of his career, Freddy was overshadowed by the larger-than-life persona and legendary career of his brother Nat King Cole. He had to struggle to find his own niche in the jazz world.

A natural musician, Freddy was also a gifted athlete with professional aspirations. However, when a high school sports injury put an end to his budding football career, he decided to pursue music, issuing his first recording, "The Joke's On Me," in 1952.

Freddy continued his music education, first at Chicago's Roosevelt Institute, and later at the Juilliard School of Music in New York. After earning degrees from Juilliard and the New England Conservatory of Music, he hit the thriving jazz scene of New York City, taking whatever work he could find and learning the ropes from such influential mentors as drummer Sonny Greer.

In the mid 1970s, Freddy built an international fan base with a series of European recordings. His album, One More Love Song went gold in Brazil. Because his intimate singing style resembled that of many Brazilian balladeers, the Brazilians embraced him like one of their own.

Today, Freddy Cole feels "blest" to be doing what he loves best -– telling stories through music, reaching people with his exuberant warmth and inexorable talent. We should consider ourselves equally as fortunate to hear more from this jazz great with the panache of Duke Ellington and a voice like "raw silk."

"Freddy has an impeccable sense of swing... he is, overall, the most maturely expressive male jazz singer of his generation, if not the best alive."
The New York Times

"Gorgeous autumnal baritone, expressive phrasing and pitch-perfect feel for jazz standards, pop tunes and love ballads."
People Magazine

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