Freddy Cole Quartet - The Dunsmore Room at Crooners6161 Hwy 65 NE Minneapolis,MN
05/20/2018 5:00 PM - 05/20/2018 7:00 PM
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.
“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
“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.” After a possible career with the NFL was shelved due to a severe football related 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.
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. He got a Master’s degree at the New England Conservatory of Music and then spent several months on the road as a member of Earl Bostic’s band that also included Johnny Coles and Benny Golson.
Freddy Cole is one of American popular music’s great performers. Like pop icon Tony Bennett, Cole is a beloved musician’s musician and a living link to the Great American Songbook. While evoking the suave stylings of Earl “Fatha” Hines and Teddy Wilson, Cole is very much his own man, whose toe-tapping forays recall the bluesy minimalism of Count Basie, the urbane sophistication of George Shearing and the uptown swagger of Duke Ellington. – Chuck Berg, The Topeka Capital-Journal
Bassist Elias Bailey started playing bass in the 6th grade school orchestra. The next year he won a scholarship from Milt Hinton for private study, which was awarded at the International Society of Bassists Convention, held in NYC. At the convention he had an opportunity to meet and attend master classes with John Clayton, Milt Hinton, Rufus Reid, Buster Williams and Bob Hurst. From that point his path was clear – to become a professional jazz bassist. The next two summers were spent between Northwestern University and Skidmore University, where he attended intensive classical and jazz summer programs led by Jeff Bradetich and Milt Hinton.
Playing professionally since the age of 15 in the Virginia area, by the age of 18 Elias had already performed with artists such as Nathan Page, Steve Wilson, Larry Willis and Derrick and Vincent Gardner. In his last year of high school he won a Level One scholarship from the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts, with which he attended the Virginia Commonwealth University Jazz Studies Program. Taking a break from his college studies, he joined the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra at the age of 19, getting a chance to travel the world and perform with artists such as Lynn Roberts, The Four Lads and The Mills Brothers. After spending two years with the TDO, Elias joined the group of Max Jazz recording artist, Rene Marie, with whom he spent five years and performed on her critically acclaimed album, Live at Jazz Standard. For the last twelve years, Elias has been performing at some of the most prestigious venues around the globe with The Freddy Cole Quartet. With Mr. Cole, Elias has shared the stage with artists such as Houston Person, Eric Alexander, John DiMartino and Harry Allen. Recently, Elias has also been performing with Bennie Wallace and Alvin Queen. Elias can be heard on Alvin Queen’s album “Mighty Long Way’ featuring Terrell Stafford, Peter Bernstein and Jesse Davis. He has recorded on Freddy Cole’s last six albums,including his Grammy Nominated “Freddy Cole Sings Mr.B”,as well as Rene Marie’s latest two albums “I Wanna Be Evil”and “Sound of Red” which were also Grammy Nominated.
Napoleon is a composer and an arranger for singers, big bands, and small combos. He arranged as well as performed on Cole’s 2010 Grammy-nominated release from High Note, Freddy Cole Sings Mr. B. He is the guitarist on Cole’s Live at Dizzy’s Club: The Dreamer in Me, Talk to Me, This and That, and Freddy Cole Sings The Blues. He has performed with artists across the jazz spectrum such as Bill Charlap, Natalie Cole, Monty Alexander, Houston Person, Rodney Whitaker, Melissa Morgan, Aaron Diehl, Josh Brown, Dmitry Baevsky, Jared Gold, Etienne Charles, Mike Dease, Sara Gazarek, Brianna Thomas, Bootsie Barnes, Mike Karn, Eric Comstock. Will and Pete Anderson, and Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks.
Prior to joining Freddy Cole, Napoleon toured with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra and appears on the recording, The Clayton Hamilton Orchestra: Live at MCG. He has toured extensively with Benny Green and crooner Michael Buble. Napoleon is featured on Buble’s Grammy-nominated CD Caught in the Act.
Currently touring worldwide with award-winning vocalist and composer René Marie and Grammy-nominated vocalist Freddy Cole, Baxter regularly performs many prestigious venues and festivals. He’s performed at The Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.), Jazz at Lincoln Center (New York), Joy of Jazz Festival (South Africa), Toulouse Jazz Festival (France), Umbria Jazz Festival and Spoleto Festival dei Due Mondi (Italy), and, of course, Spoleto Festival USA (Charleston).
Baxter has worked with other great artists including Monty Alexander, Ernest Ranglin, Wycliff Gordon, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Allan Harris, Fred Wesley, Houston Person, Marcus Roberts, Joey DeFrancesco, James Spaulding, Bobby Watson, Ira Sullivan, Billy Childs, Eddie Henderson, Donald Byrd, Charlie Byrd, Gregory Hines, Sonny Fortune, Doug Carn, Marcus Printup, Terry Gibbs, Buddy DeFranco, Ronald Westray, Me’Shell NdegéOcello and India.Arie.