My Mood Is You (High Note Records)

Freddy Cole

Released May 15, 2018

Grammy Nominee for Best Jazz VocalAlbum 2019




Very few artists stay at the top of their game for their entire career. However, Freddy Cole’s velvet unhurried singing style remains every bit as cool and hip as it was when his first record was released in 1964. Pianist John di Martino, bassist Elias Bailey, guitarist Randy Napoleon and drummer Quentin Baxter, are trusted associates of Cole who respond to his inimitable sense of swing with now intuitive assurance. Guest saxophonist Joel Frahm displays a sympathetic style that puts him in league with such earlier illustrious Cole saxophone allies as Houston Person and David “Fathead” Newman. Time has been kind to Freddy Cole, who is currently singing with the vitality and zest of a man half his age. His seasoned voice is as affecting as ever, his understanding of a song’s expressive anatomy never more incisive. His unimpeachable artistry, rather than longevity, is what positions him as today’s vocal jazz master.

Track Listing:

1. My Mood Is You 5:46

2. Temptation 4:53

3. Almost In Love 5:37

4. I’ll Always Leave the Door a Little Open 5:44

5. First Began 6:19

6. They Didn’t Believe Me 4:33

7. My Heart Tells Me 6:30

8. The Lonely One 5:11

9. Love Like This Can’t Last 4:16

10. Marie 3:19


Freddy Cole: vocals

John di Martino: piano

Joel Frahm: soprano & tenor saxophones

Randy Napoleon: guitar

Elias Bailey: bass

Quentin Baxter: drums


Harry Allen: tenor sax

Joe Magnarelli: trumpet

Josh Brown: trombone

Recorded September 26 – 27 2017, at Teaneck Sound Studio, Teaneck, NJ

Produced by Freddy Cole with Todd Barkan and Katherine Miller

Executve Producer: Joe Fields

Recorded, Mixed and Mastered by Katherine Miller

Photography: Roberto Cifarelli

Design: Junko Mayumi & Keiji Obata, Littlefield & Co.


A bit of Cole family math: From the advent of the LP era in the early 1950s until his death in 1965, Nat delivered 34 albums (greatest-hits compilations and posthumous releases notwithstanding). At the time of Nat’s demise, kid brother Freddy, also a gifted pianist and vocalist, had released just one, the estimable Waiter, Ask the Man to Play the Blues. Now Freddy Cole, whose career sputtered in Nat’s overwhelming shadow for nearly two decades before hitting rapid acceleration in the mid-’90s, has, at 86, pulled even; My Mood Is You is his 34th release.

Just over a decade ago, Freddy added guitarist Randy Napoleon to his quartet—alongside bassist Elias Bailey and drummer Curtis Boyd, since replaced by Quentin Baxter—establishing a pattern that has served him well ever since: slow, smooth, laid-back and sophisticated (with room for occasional bursts of up-tempo revelry). Here, with Cole ceding the piano bench to John di Martino while welcoming saxophonist Joel Frahm, he digs deep into his vast songbook to unearth several underappreciated gems. Yes, there’s still a hint of Nat in Freddy’s burnished baritone, but the critical parallel is the equally mesmerizing storytelling mastery he exhibits across Luiz Bonfá’s coy “Almost in Love”; a scintillating, Frahm-propelled take on Billy Strayhorn’s “Love Like This Can’t Last”; Richard Rodney Bennett and Johnny Mandel’s bittersweet “I’ll Always Leave the Door a Little Open”; Mack Gordon and Harry Warren’s romantically perplexed, Nat-associated “My Heart Tells Me”; and the tender Carl Sigman title track.

Cristopher Loudon (JazzTimes)