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Freddy Cole

Born: October 15, 1931    Primary Instrument: Piano

Freddy Cole

Lionel Frederick Cole was born on October 15, 1931, 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.

“I started playing piano at five or six,” Freddy remembers. “Music was all around me.” In the Chicago home of his youth, visitors included Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
1899 - 1974
piano
, Count Basie
Count Basie
Count Basie
1904 - 1984
piano
, and Lionel Hampton
Lionel Hampton
Lionel Hampton
1908 - 2002
vibraphone
. He also credits Billy Eckstine
Billy Eckstine
Billy Eckstine
1914 - 1993
vocalist
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 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.

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”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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