On March 28th, CPFJ had the honor of presenting Freddy Cole and his trio for a performance at the Hilton during CPFJ’s Sunday concert series.

The evening before, Mr. Cole and I spent a few hours together enjoying dinner at downtown restaurant. I have to admit, it was the best date ever! Mr. Cole shared lots of fond memories of his earlier days on the circuit – including many “He-couldn’t-possibly-make-this-stuff-up!”flashbacks of the Elks, Masonic Hall and the infamous Lawson’s Bar. (Having grown up in Harrisburg, I knew the stories weren’t farfetched, but rather, par for the course. They were some wild times!)

But the highlight of the evening was having my own private not-on-purpose concert with the fabulous Freddy Cole. The restaurant apparently subscribes to a Sirius jazz channel, one featuring all the jazz legends: Frank Sinatra, Nancy Wilson, Billy Eskstine, Ella Fitzgerald – and plenty others. When I tell you that Mr. Cole knew – and sang – every single song that came on that channel, I’m not exaggerating! (I still can’t believe a man 20+ years my senior recalled every word to every tune, while I have trouble remembering my middle name!)

He’s simply amazing.

Following dinner, we walked back to The Bar at the Hilton to hear Steve Rudolph at the piano. What a once-in-a-lifetime treat for all us listeners as Mr. Cole’s raspy voice accompanied Steve’s playing – totally impromptu – and pitch perfect!

It was the highlight of my evening. In fact, thus far, it’s been the highlight of my year! And definitely…



It’s early morning following CPFJs gig last night at the Hilton Harrisburg, where The Carl Allen Rodney Whitaker Project took center stage.

They were incredible.

To be frank, I didn’t know these guys before I’d read the lineup in December announcing their upcoming performance. And then I did some research (YouTube, Carl Allen’s Web site) and I started diggin’ them a little more.

But even those could not compare to last night’s live performance. Simply put: They blew us away!

From Marvin Gaye’s Inner City Blues to Smokey Robinson’s Get Ready to Carl Allen’s La Shea’s Walk (written for his wife), the audience was mesmerized by The Project’s skillful transitions and outright in-your-face, unapologetic interpretations.

But it was their sultry, hypnotic rendition of With You I’m Born Again that stood out. (Trust me, this YouTube clip doesn’t even come close!)

Yeah, they got me…and everybody else in the room too.

In closing: If you EVER have an opportunity to hear these guys LIVE – don’t miss it! You owe it to yourself.

Freddy Cole 3/28

Freddy Cole 3/28

Up next: The grand FREDDY COLE on Sunday, March 28th. Hope to see you there.