Recognized as one of the great practitioners of American Song, Freddy Cole, like his late elder brother Nat “King” Cole, is widely regarded as one of the most influential singers in jazz music. Growing up in a musical household, Freddy remembers, “music was all around me." Visitors of the Chicago home of his youth included greats such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Lionel Hampton. He credits Billy Eckstine as a major influence. "He was a fantastic entertainer," Freddy recalls. Freddy Cole doesn’t apologize for sounding like his brother, Nat "King" Cole. There are certain unmistakable similarities. He plays piano, sings, and performs live with guitar and upright bass- just like Nat. Yet his voice is raspier, smokier, perhaps even jazzier. Freddy has emerged from the awesome shadow cast by his elder brother. His vocals—suave, elegant, formidable, and articulate—are among the most respected in jazz. Cole’s career continues to ascend as he’s moved into the front ranks of America’s homegrown art form, with a style and musical sophistication all his own.
His latest CD, Talk to Me (High Note Records, 2011) features new arrangements of three Bill Withers songs and is one of his most sublimely swinging recordings to date.