Where'd this guy come from? Chicago, actually, where he and brother Nat King Cole (and two more brothers, in fact) all grew up playing piano. Freddy was headed toward a potential NFL career until sidelined by a hand injury (to the benefit of jazz fans). He's lived in Atlanta since 1972. A trip to Brazil in 1978 fueled his love for Latin music, and for jazz in general.
The Latin influence threads throughout Rio de Janeiro Blue, particularly on "Deliro," a gentle Cuban bolero; the Antonio Carlos Jobim/Vinicius de Moraes-penned "Sem Voce," which Cole sings in Portuguese; and the piano-driven
"Wild Is Love."
Cole is equally effective on straight-ahead standards in quartet or quintet settings, including an irresistible reading of Cole Porter's "I Concentrate on You," featuring Eric Alexander on tenor sax, and "Words Can't Describe," a ballad associated with Sarah Vaughan.