By Kathryn Kopchik
LEWISBURG, Pa. — The Freddy Cole Quintet will perform in concert Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 7:30 p.m. in the Campus Theatre in Lewisburg.
This performance, which is free and open to the public, is the first event in the Janet Weis Cabaret Jazz Series, a series is made possible by funding from the Weis family.
Cole is an American jazz singer and pianist whose recording career has spanned more than 50 years. He and his band regularly tour the United States, Europe, the Far East and South America.
He began playing piano at the age of six and continued his musical education at the Roosevelt Institute in Chicago. He moved to New York in 1951, where he studied at the Juilliard School of Music before completing a master's degree at the New England Conservatory of Music.
Following the moderate success of "Whispering Grass" in 1953, Cole spent several months on the road with Johnny Coles and Benny Golson as the Earl Bostic band. He went on to work with Grover Washington Jr. and to record jingles for various companies, including Turner Classic Movies.
During the 1970s, Cole recorded several albums for European and English based labels. The subject of the 2006 documentary "The Cole Nobody Knows," Cole was added to the Steinway Artist roster that same year.
He was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2007. His 2010 album, "Freddy Cole Sings Mr. B," was nominated for the Grammy in the Best Vocal Jazz Album category.
"Whether crooning a romantic ballad that quietly evokes his family ties — as the younger brother of Nat King Cole — or swinging nonchalantly as someone without a care, singer-pianist Freddy Cole promises to deliver a toe-tapping and soulful performance when he brings his musical magic to the Campus Theatre," said Kathryn Maguet, executive director of the Weis Center at Bucknell and the curator for this series.
"Freddy's musical selections range from Broadway to blues, George Gershwin and Duke Ellington to Lionel Ritchie to Kenny Rogers. The New York Times called him 'the most maturely expressive male jazz singer of his generation, if not the best alive.' It will be a joy to hear him in the intimate confines of the Campus Theatre," she said.
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