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Talk to Me

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Album Review

Burnished and romantic, vocalist Freddy Cole's 2011 Highnote release Talk to Me features the master singer backed by his stellar working sextet featuring guitarist Randy Napoleon, pianist John Di Martino, bassist Elias Bailey, and drummer Curtis Boyd. Also featured here are the more than welcome talents of trumpeter Terell Stafford and saxophonist Harry Allen, who punctuate these arrangements with tasty, melodic, and swinging solos. Cole has long been lauded as the successor to the balladeer throne once held by such icons as Nat King Cole, Billy Eckstine, Joe Williams, and Johnny Hartman. In that sense, Talk to Me does nothing if not reinforce this notion. From his lead-off take on the lush and urbane "Mam'selle," to his inspired after-hours jazz reworking of not one but two Bill Withers songs in "Lovely Day" and the laid-back Latin number "Can We Pretend?," Cole is in superb form throughout. Elsewhere, he bests Johnny Mathis on his version of the poignant ballad "I Was Telling Her About You," and, as on the rest of the album, is the epitome of taste and bluesy romanticism on "Come Home."


Born: October 15, 1931 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The younger brother of Nat King Cole and uncle of Natalie Cole, singer/pianist Freddy Cole sounds a great deal like his celebrated sibling, yet has a personality of his own. Cole, whose vocals tend to be a bit darker and slightly rougher, began playing piano at five or six. He was interested in playing football professionally, but decided to pursue a career in music after a hand injury ended his career as an athlete. He debuted on vinyl in 1952 when he recorded the single "The Joke's on Me" for the...
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Talk to Me, Freddy Cole
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