Freddy Cole - In the Name of Love
Cole, the youngest brother of the late Nat “King” Cole, grew up
surrounded by music and with three talented older brothers, it’s
hardly surprising. His
interest had started in earnest at the age of five or six when he
started playing piano. He
was influenced by the music of Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Lionel
Hampton, all of whom visited his native Chicago.
An early hand
injury put paid to what could have been a promising football career
and Freddy put all his energies into music, studying at the Roosevelt
Institute, Juillard School of Music and New England Conservatory of
Music (where he gained a master’s degree).
In the bistros
of New York, he developed a huge repertoire of songs and branched out
into TV and radio commercial jingle work.
His long recording career stretches from his first release on a
small Chicago label in 1952, through the 70’s when he learned to
sing in other languages, to this polished third release for the Telarc
relaxed tone for this album is set by Freddy’s cover of Boz Scaggs’
Harbor Lights. You
can imagine it appearing on the soundtrack of the next big romantic
comedy. The quality of
instrumentation is also obvious right from the start: Romero
Lubambo’s dreamy acoustic guitar and Barry Danelian’s even
dreamier trumpet make lovely contributions.
fans will recognise Just to See Her, though the vocal treatment
is more gravelly and laid back. You
can almost hear the Chicagoan smiling on this song.
All of the beauty of the original version of Have I Told You
Lately That I Love You is captured here.
The piano on this song is gorgeous and the simple arrangement
leaves Cole’s lovely vocal to shine. Got a lump in your throat?
version of Grover Washington Jr’s In the Name of Love is
classy and though David Mann’s soprano sax isn’t centre-stage, it
sounds sweet when it appears. Similarly,
Cassandra Reed’s vocal is delicious.
The more exotic Remember Me has some lovely touches.
The guitar and keyboard double up while the sexy latin
percussion pitter-patters in the background.
The interplay between Cole’s smoky voice and Jane Monheit’s
delicate voice is carried off perfectly.
Lins/Vitor Martins composition follows.
I’m Not Alone has a lovely sway.
Lubambo’s guitar is warm but crystal clear.
It takes a producer of the calibre of Jason Miles to draw such
relaxed performances from this awesome group of musicians.
Miles’ own Hammond B3 opens the sexy Save a Little Time
For Me, written by Cole’s son Lionel.
I keep thinking of Roy Ayers’ ballad style when I hear this.
Cassandra Reed really does the question-and-answer beautifully.
If I told you Jay Beckenstein’s soprano sax was the icing on
the cake, you’d know where I’m coming from, right?
The moody When
It Rains is a Jason Miles composition.
The chord sequence in the chorus is haunting and Mark Egan’s
unusually muted bass adds to the dream-like quality of the sound.
Lubambo’s guitar is magical in the short solos – he was a
perfect choice for this collection.
Lady Love is very lightweight compared to some of the
gems on this album. It
won’t set hearts fluttering but it’s pretty.
The last time I heard I Can’t Make You Love Me was an
instrumental on a Candy Dulfer album.
This slow and moving version is a totally different take on
this modern classic. David
Mann’s sax is suitably lyrical – this is one sax man who deserves
much more exposure than he gets.
I’ve avoided comparing Freddy’s voice to that of his legendary
because, with the exception of I Loved You, the similarity
isn’t that obvious. On
this wistful ballad, I can hear elements of Nat’s vocal and – who
knows – if Nat’s life and career had been longer, the similarity
may been even more pronounced.
does not aim to please any particular age group.
And he’s right to work that way, because this would please
older easy-listening fans, middle-aged jazz fans (yeah, ok, guys like
me) and younger folks who can relate to the material well.
His easy vocal style, great choice of songs, musicians like
bassist Will Lee and percussionist Marc Quinones (in addition to the
rising stars already mentioned) and the light touch of producer Jason
Miles make this an old-fashioned, modern collection you really need to
Records – cat no. CD-83545 – Producer Jason Miles