Main Stage Series:
Saturday, April 27, 2019
"One of American popular music's great performers, Cole is a beloved musician's musician and a living link to the Great American Songbook." Chuck Berg, The Topeka Capital-Journal
Lionel Frederick Cole was born 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 taught by their mother. Though Freddy was born in Chicago, he is now a 35-year native son and international celebrity of Atlanta.
“I started playing piano at five or six,” Freddy recalls. “Music was all around me.” In the Chicago home of his youth, visitors included Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Lionel Hampton. He also credits Billy Eckstine as a major influence. “He was a fantastic entertainer,” Freddy recalls. “I learned so much from just watching and being around him.”
Freddy moved to New York in 1951, where he studied at the Juilliard School of Music and found himself profoundly influenced by John Lewis, Oscar Peterson and Teddy Wilson. It was back in New York that Freddy successfully laid the groundwork for a career that continues to flourish to this day.
While there are certain unmistakable similarities in timbre to his brother Nat, his voice is raspier, smokier, jazzier even. In truth, his phrasing is far closer to that of Frank Sinatra or Billie Holiday than that of his brother, and his timing swings even more. His vocals – suave, elegant, formidable, sometimes spoken and articulate – make him the most respected lyrical storyteller in jazz. Cole’s career continues to ascend as he has moved into the front ranks of America’s homegrown art form with a style and musical sophistication all his own.
$40 Premium / $35 Standard Seating
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