Freddy Cole -A Chicago original

Lately, I've been thinking about all the great talents who have hailed from Chicago - musical and otherwise.

So, after feeling sorry for myself and applying for a job as Head of Makeup at Al Jazeera, I brought out some of my Freddy Cole CDs.

I know that music soothes the soul and takes the edge off the angst of the city.  Love songs are a respite from watching tourists wearing ill-fitting shorts as they trample along Michigan Avenue.

Freddy Cole brings you to another place and turns the mundane into magical.  It is so rare to listen to a singer these days who isn't compelled to add a lot of vocal pyrotechnics.  Like another treasure, Joe Williams (RIP), Freddy walks out on stage in these plush jackets and soft shoes -- like he's ready to pour a scotch, and he'll just start singing "Two For The Road."

Or, he poetically embraces another gem, "On My Way To You," written by Marilyn & Alan Bergman and Michel Legrand, a song I used to sing  at the old Boombala Nightclub on Lincoln Avenue.  At least it was a step up from my first gig at The Won Kow Gourmet Dragon Restaurant & Lounge.

Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Lionel Hampton used to visit the Cole family home.  Freddy must have paid very close attention, since he clearly knows how to entertain and move an audience.

Also, I am grateful that Freddy Cole abandoned a career in the NFL, because concussions are really not helpful for retaining lyrics and musical interludes.

If you are lucky, you can catch Freddy Cole at one of his few Chicago appearances at The Jazz Showcase on Plymouth Court in the South Loop.  He usually books a show there once or twice a year.

In the meantime, I can recommend the following releases:  Le Grand Freddy; and Freddy Cole, To The Ends of the Earth


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  • Nice column, Kelly. You made the man come alive for me. Good job.

  • "Soothes the soul, and takes the edge off..." Well said Kelly.

  • Always enjoy your dash of humor, Kelly, coupled with wonderful tidbits on people and places worth knowing about. I will make a point of adding one of your Freddy Cole recommendations to my playlist collection. Thanks.

  • Thanks a lot for this awesome recommendation!!!

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