The Freddy Cole Quartet Illuminates Spoleto with Soothing Playful Jazz

By Mark A. Leon

By Mark A. Leon

Four nights; two shows a night of intimate music, meet and greet and a feeling of comfort, romance and seduction.  This is the menu prepared by The Freddy Cole Quartet for Spoleto 2016.  Led by younger brother of the late, legendary musician Nat King Cole, Freddy and his band put on a performance for the ages.

From the moment Freddy Cole walked to the piano, slightly hunched over, greeted the audience with a humble smile and began to tickle the ivory, the intimate audience of 200 knew they were in for a special evening.  As the first lyrics come through the microphone, you were instantly captured as you heard this blessed voice.  It was the fusion of Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole enchanting the crowd with soulful lyrical love making and flirtatious banter.  As he played, he looked over at the patrons sitting just a few feet away and gave that secret smile.

Accompanied by the incredibly talented ensemble of Randy Napoleon on guitar, Elias Bailey on bass and Charleston’s own Quentin Baxter on drums/percussion, the tight rhythmic sounds played into the palates of fans who were reminiscing of the days of Billie Holiday and Count Basie.

Throughout the performance, the band combined romantic journey’s with humorous anecdotal stories.  Best Man, telling the story of losing your love to your best friend and then being the best man at their wedding was a crowd favorite with clapping and laughter during the rendition.

Freddy, at the ripe young age of 84, still has the charm to woe an audience and the energy to give Charleston eight amazing performances over four days.

“Come back to me, even if to say goodbye”

As the evening concluded, Freddy removed himself from the secure front of the piano and left himself exposed, center stage to perform a fitting thank you and farewell to the audience.  With the line, “come back to me, even if to say goodbye, goodbye” and a wave, he showed his appreciation for the fans that continue to appreciate his musical contribution.  A true gentlemanly act.

Music evolves over time, but on occasion, some artists will transcend time and introduce a sound that is truly timeless.

Freddy Cole and his band erased the heat, the modern trials of the crowds on the streets of Charleston and took us on an 80 minute magic carpet ride to the jazz clubs of the 50’s and 60’s and reminded us that at the end of the day, no matter what your age, love is still the reason.

 

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