Mr. Freddy Cole

Mr. Freddy Cole • Steinway Piano Galleries • July 2012 • photos by Clay Walker

Mr. Freddy Cole (1931-2020)

Many years ago now, while working late in a sign company’s warehouse, I was listening to the radio and I heard an unforgettable version of Stevie Wonder’s “Overjoyed” coming through our tiny & decrepit one-speaker radio. I was so smitten by the recording that I actually called the DJ playing the song to learn more about what I had just heard. That, of course, was Mr. H Johnson and he explained to me that that was Freddy Cole singing on Grover Washington, Jr’s “All My Tomorrows,” which I owned on CD the very next day. That was the beginning of my deep appreciation for the amazing artistry and talent of this incredible person. 

Years later, I wrote a letter to Mr. Cole asking him if I could possibly attempt to tell his story in the form of a documentary film project – and that was how our friendship began.

Last night, while we were befittingly listening to H Johnson’s program, which is still on public radio so many years later, we learned of the loss of this special person.

I can simply say that I am mostly at a loss for words at the moment. My heart is very full of wonderful memories that I will treasure forever. Freddy’s breadth of talent & knowledge is second to no one else I have ever met. I am so grateful for the time that we spent together and all of the connections with his wonderful family and so many incredibly talented and kind people that he performed and associated with – such a precious gift to have been a part of this!

I will always have a smile thinking of leaving him on a NYC street corner late at night with the parting advice that “you can stay out all night, but I am going back to the hotel to get some sleep!” 

My friend, I’ll be seeing you! 


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