Buddy Cole (musician)

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Edwin LeMar "Buddy" Cole (December 15, 1916 – November 5, 1964), was a jazz pianist, organist, orchestra leader, and composer. He played behind a number of pop singers, including Rosemary Clooney and Bing Crosby.


Cole was born in Irving, Illinois, on December 15, 1916.[1] He started his musical career in the theater, playing between movies.[1] He was recruited to be part of Gil Evans's band at the age of 19.[2] In Hollywood in the second half of the 1930s Cole played in dance bands, including those led by Alvino Rey and Frankie Trumbauer.[1] He married Yvonne King, member of the King Sisters, in 1940.[3] From the 1940s, his main work was as a studio musician, utilising piano, electric organ, celeste, harpsichord and Novachord.[1]

In his capacity as a studio musician, Cole worked with Henry Mancini, who used his Hammond organ sound for the sound track to the TV series "Mr. Lucky".[1] Cole also recorded several organ albums for Warner Brothers, Columbia, Alshire and Doric.[1]

Cole performed on Bing Crosby's hits "In a Little Spanish Town" and "Ol' Man River",[1] and on the albums Some Fine Old Chestnuts and New Tricks.[4] Cole also played on Rosemary Clooney's radio program; some recordings from the show were released on the album Swing Around Rosie.[5]

Cole played most of the piano parts in the 1951 film Young Man with a Horn, subbing for Hoagy Carmichael, who appeared on screen.[6] Cole also wrote the music for the television game show Truth or Consequences.[1] He died in Hollywood on November 5, 1964.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Chadbourne, Eugene. "Buddy Cole". AllMusic. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  2. ^ Crease, Stephanie Stein (2002). Gil Evans: Out of the Cool – His Life and Music. A Cappella Books. p. 36. ISBN 978-1-55652-425-7.
  3. ^ Tumpak, John R. (2008). When Swing Was the Thing: Personality Profiles of the Big Band Era. Marquette University Press. p. 65. ISBN 978-0-87462-024-5.
  4. ^ Gramophone 2003- Volume 81 - Page 122 "Crosby brought a jazzman's phrasing and sense of improvisation to much of what he did, whether in the company of Armstrong or a non-specialist jazz group like the Buddy Cole Trio whose album, New Tricks, exemplifies his relaxed approach ...
  5. ^ Giddins, Gary (2004). Weather Bird: Jazz at the Dawn of Its Second Century. Oxford University Press. p. 459. ISBN 978-0-19-515607-2.
  6. ^ Whitehead, Kevin (2020). Play the Way You Feel: The Essential Guide to Jazz Stories on Film. Oxford University Press. pp. 97–100. ISBN 978-0-19-084757-9.

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