Freddy Cole Quartet | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Freddy Cole Quartet




Forget chromosome mapping; if you want to prove the power of genetics, just dial up the vocal work of Freddy Cole. Without even trying, he conjures up his legendary big brother, Nat "King" Cole, whenever he opens his mouth. Oh, he might have developed the naturalistic phrasing, the breathy plunge at the end of a lyric line, and even the precise emphasis of his diction by studying Nat's old records. But only nature (as opposed to nurture) could have provided him with those pipes: the same light and reedy timbre, the same intimate resonance, the same dramatic shift between corduroy high notes and crushed-velvet low ones. (Generally Freddy neither ducks nor flaunts his heritage, though he did write a tune called "I'm Not My Brother, I'm Me." Under the circumstances, he probably felt audiences needed a slight reminder.) Like his brother, Freddy accompanies himself on the piano, and if he lacks Nat's insouciant celerity and sparkling technique, his keyboard style is more than serviceable. I can't say this Cole would have attained the same level of success without his family ties, but if you'd never heard his brother, you'd still have to acknowledge the cool of Freddy's crooning and the jazz sensibility that guides every note to its rightful place. Thursday, 9 PM, and next Friday, October 17, 10 PM, Green Dolphin Street, 2200 N. Ashland; 773-395-0066. NEIL TESSER

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Steve Manuta.

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