Jazz singer and pianist Freddy Cole dies at 88

Freddy Cole, the jazz singer and pianist with a career of nearly 70 years, has died. He was 88.

The cause of death was complications from a cardiovascular ailment, his manager Suzi Reynolds told the Washington Post.

Known for his bluesy voice and swinging style, Cole spent much of his career in the shadow of his older brother Nat King Cole, but he later carved out his own prestigious path with accolades that include four Grammy nominations.

Born in Chicago on Oct. 15, 1931, Freddy Cole was the youngest of five children. He moved to New York in 1951 to attend the Julliard School of Music, before completing a master’s degree from the New England Conservatory of Music. Among his musical influences were Oscar Peterson, John Lewis, Teddy Wilson and Billy Eckstine.

Cole released his first album in 1952 and had a minor hit the following year with the song Whispering Glass while gradually gaining notice on the New York club circuit. In 1972, he moved to Atlanta, which he called home for the remainder of his life.

After many years of relative obscurity compared to his famous older brother, Cole’s breakout came at the age of 60, when he made an assertive statement in the form of the 1991 record I’m Not My Brother, I’m Me. He had another break when he appeared on Grover Washington Jr.’s 1994 album All My Tomorrows.

From there, Cole recorded more than 20 albums over a quarter-century, and the Grammy nominations followed.

His first Grammy nod came in 2000 for the album Merry Go Round, followed by nominations for Music Maestro Please in 2007, Freddy Cole Sings Mr. B in 2010, and My Mood Is You in 2018.

Cole was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2007.

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