CULTURE

Jazz master Freddy Cole plays Half Note

A «gorgeous autumnal baritone, [with] expressive phrasing and pitch-perfect feel for jazz standards, pop tunes and love ballads,» is how People Magazine has described jazz singer and pianist Freddy Cole. The younger brother of Nat «King» Cole is slated to begin a week-long run at the capital’s Half Note Jazz Club tonight, along with Jerry Byrd on guitar, Zachary Pride on bass and Curtis Boyd on drums. Born in 1931, Freddy was the fifth and youngest son of a truly musical family. He began playing the piano at a young age and, though he wanted to follow in his brothers’ footsteps and leave home as a teen, his mother insisted he continued his music studies at Chicago’s Roosevelt Institute. As a young man, Cole aspired to become a professional football player, but a hand injury put a stop to that career option so he moved to New York, where he attended the Juilliard School of Music, and began to sing for a living, starting with live appearances at small clubs and bistros. He then went on to get a master’s degree at the New England Conservatory of Music and spent several months touring with the Earl Bostic Band. In the USA, Freddy Cole recorded with small local labels, making hits such as «The Joke’s on Me» and «Whispering Grass.» His first European recordings were in the mid-1970s, the most popular of which was the album «One More Love Song,» which went gold in Brazil, but it was not until the late 1980s and early 1990s that he began acquiring a serious following overseas. Since the 1990s, his reputation as a great jazz artist has skyrocketed. Freddy Cole’s recordings include the albums «A Circle of Love,» «Love Makes the Changes,» «Merry Go Round» and «Rio de Janeiro Blue,» while he and his band have just finished recording their latest album, «This Love of Mine,» a compilation of standards. Half Note, 17 Trivonianou, Mets, tel 210.921.3310.