Cole in 2003
|Birth name||Lionel Frederick Cole|
|Born||October 15, 1931|
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Lionel Frederick Cole (born October 15, 1931) is an American jazz singer and pianist whose recording career has spanned over sixty-five years. He is the brother of musicians Nat King Cole and Ike Cole, father of Lionel Cole, and uncle of Natalie Cole, Carole Cole, Timolin Cole, and Casey Cole.
Cole was born to Edward and Paulina Cole, and grew up in Chicago with siblings Eddie, Ike and Nat King Cole. He began playing piano at the age of six, and continued his musical education at the Roosevelt Institute in Chicago. He moved to New York in 1951, where he studied at the Juilliard School of Music, before completing a master's degree at the New England Conservatory of Music.
Following the moderate success of "Whispering Grass" on OKeh Records in 1953 Cole spent several months on the road with Johnny Coles and Benny Golson as the Earl Bostic band. During the 1970s, Cole recorded several albums for European and English based labels. He went on to work with Grover Washington, Jr. and to record jingles for various companies, including Turner Classic Movies He was the subject of the 2006 documentary The Cole Nobody Knows. In June of that year, Cole was added to the Steinway Artist roster.
Cole was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2007. In July 2009, he released a recording featuring his own quartet (guitarist Randy Napoleon, drummer Curtis Boyd, and bassist Elias Bailey), along with alto saxophonist Jerry Weldon and pianist John DiMartino, playing live at Dizzy's jazz club in Lincoln Center. His 2010 album, Freddy Cole Sings Mr. B, was nominated for the Grammy in the category Best Vocal Jazz Album. The album features tenor Houston Person, pianist John DiMartino, guitarist/arranger Randy Napoleon, drummer Curtis Boyd, and bassist Elias Bailey. His 2018 album, My Mood is You was also nominated for a Grammy; the album features Napoleon, Bailey, DiMartino as well as drummer Quentin Baxter and tenor Joel Frahn. Arrangements are by Napoleon and DiMartino.
Cole's influences included John Lewis, Oscar Peterson, Teddy Wilson and Billy Eckstine. When speaking of Eckstine, Cole recalled, "He was a fantastic entertainer. I learned so much from just watching and being around him."
Guitarist Randy Napoleon, who has been playing and recording with Cole since 2007, said, "Freddy just glides through life. He's got a lot of patience, warmth, a great sense of humor. The music is really inseparable from the person…One of the things that makes Freddy really great is his elegance and careful, judicious editing. He doesn't play a lot of notes on piano, but the ones he plays really do make the band feel great. They’re melodic, it swings, and that's it. He doesn't feel you need a lot of extra, fancy stuff."
- 1964: Waiter, Ask the Man to Play the Blues (Dot; reissued on Verve in 2004)
- 1969: On Second Thought (De-Lite)
- 1975: Freddy Cole's Christmas Dreams (Arrikka)
- 1976: As Long As I'm Singing (First Shot)
- 1976: The Cole Nobody Knows (First Shot)
- 1976: Just Plain Freddy - Live (First Shot)
- 1977: Freddy Cole: Sing [also released as The Way Freddy Cole Sings] (Demand; Decca)
- 1978: One More Love Song (Decca)
- 1978: I Loved You (Som Livre)
- 1979: Freddy Cole: Latino (Som Livre)
- 1980: Right from the Heart (Decca)
- 1983: Like a Quiet Storm (Dinky)
- 1987: Appearing Nightly (Dinky)
- 1990: I'm Not My Brother, I'm Me (Sunnyside; reissued on HighNote in 2004)
- 1992: Live at Birdland West (Laserlight)
- 1993: This Is the Life (Muse; reissued on 32 Jazz in 2000)
- 1994: Live at Vartan Jazz (Vartan Jazz)
- 1994: Always (Fantasy)
- 1994: I Want a Smile for Christmas (Fantasy)
- 1996: A Circle of Love (Fantasy)
- 1997: It's Crazy, But I'm in Love (After 9/Touchwood)
- 1997: To the Ends of the Earth (Fantasy)
- 1998: Love Makes the Changes (Fantasy)
- 1999: Le Grand Freddy: Freddy Cole Sings The Music Of Michael Legrand (Fantasy)
- 2000: Merry Go Round (Telarc)
- 2001: Rio de Janeiro Blue (Telarc)
- 2003: In the Name of Love (Telarc)
- 2005: This Love of Mine (HighNote)
- 2006: Because of You (HighNote)
- 2007: Music Maestro Please (HighNote)
- 2009: The Dreamer in Me: Live at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola (HighNote)
- 2010: Freddy Cole Sings Mr. B (HighNote)
- 2011: Talk to Me (HighNote)
- 2013: This and That (HighNote)
- 2014: Singing the Blues (HighNote)
- 2016: He Was the King (HighNote)
- 2018: My Mood Is You (HighNote)
- "Popular Artist Biographies. All Media Guide, 2009". Answers.com. Retrieved 3 Jan 2010.
- "Down Beat profile". Downbeat.com. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
- "Casa". Steinway.it. 22 January 2016. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
- "Georgia Music Hall of Fame Inductees". Georgiamusic.org. Retrieved 20 November 2010.
- "Freddy Coles website". Freddycole.com. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
- "Freddy Cole learns to live his legacy". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
- "This is the Life - Freddy Cole - Songs, Reviews, Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
- John Swenson, The Rolling Stone Jazz & Blues Album Guide 1999, p.159, 'To the Ends of the Earth' Freddy Cole fb. 1931), the younger brother of Nat King Cole, has an instantly recognizable voice full of charm and emotional heft."