The Freddy Cole Quartet – June 3

@ BARNDIVA
231 Center Street
Sponsors: JCB by Jean-Charles Boisset | Thomas Sparks
Two shows 4pm & 7pm
707.431.0100 | www.barndiva.com

Dedicated to the memory of David Dietz

In a culture besotted with youth, some people haven’t figured out that musicians only improve with age. It’s not like sports, and in this, Freddy Cole’s life offers an object lesson.

As a high-schooler in Chicago, Cole was a football star. But when an injury sidelined him, he focused on the piano instead. Now, imagine if he had gone on to play pro football. His retirement would have commenced, well, 45 years ago. Now, at 80, he’s just about hitting his prime. So, the lesson is, jazz isn’t sports.

In jazz, you just keep getting better with age. Cole, of course, was a late bloomer. Part of that was the need to escape the long shadow of his older brother, Nat King Cole, who died in 1965. Not to mention that Nat’s daughter and Freddy’s niece, Natalie Cole, has staked a strong claim to the family franchise.

Though there are some similarities between the vocal approach of Freddy and Nat, as would have to be the case with siblings, with Freddy you get a little less crystal and a lot more of the barrelhouse, a trait complemented by the way he digs deep into the piano, swinging it every which way.

His 2010 album Freddy Cole Sings Mr. B (that’s Billy Eckstine, natch) was nominated for a Grammy in the jazz vocal category, and on his latest disc, Talk to Me, he ups the sass and the class.

It’s been a long time coming for Freddie, but he has matured into one of jazz’s pre-eminent singers. And if youth is really what you must have, then you won’t believe his guitarist, Randy Napoleon. The rest of the band, Elias Bailey on bass and Curtis Boyd on drums, is merely ageless.

$45 ticket includes a glass of JCB #21 Brut Sparkling Wine ; $65 Gold Circle ticket includes reserved seating area, a glass of JCB #69 Brut and a “Meet-the-Artist” reception following the concerts.
Early reception will be at Barndiva and late one will be a stylish after-hours reception at the JCB Tasting Room & Wine Bar at 320 Center Street. Both receptions will include selections from the JCB collection of limited-edition wines.

(Financial investigative journalist David Dietz fell in love with Healdsburg in the 1980s. But it wasn’t until he and his wife, Joanne Derbort moved here from San Francisco in 2003 that he really understood why. In those years here, still working full-time at Bloomberg News, he helped on projects he believed in, like the Jazz Festival, and was active in the successful push to save the Healdsburg Memorial Bridge. David passed away on June 1, 2011. One of the things he loved most was listening to amazing jazz in Barndiva’s gorgeous back garden.)