A resident of Atlanta since 1972, Freddy Cole currently leads a quartet on piano and vocals with guitarist Randy Napoleon, bassist Elias Bailey, and drummer Quentin Baxter, that regularly tours the US, Europe, the Far East, South America and South Africa. Freddy has been a recording artist since 1952, when his first single, “The Joke’s on Me,” was released on an obscure Chicago-based label.
While there are certain unmistakable similarities in timbre to his brother Nat, his voice is raspier, smokier, jazzier even. In truth, his phrasing is far closer to that of Frank Sinatra or Billie Holiday than that of his brother, and his timing swings even more. His vocals – suave, elegant, formidable, sometimes spoken and articulate – make him the most respected lyrical storyteller in jazz. Cole’s career continues to ascend as he has moved into the front ranks of America’s homegrown art form with a style and musical sophistication all his own.
There’s no question about it: Seven time GRAMMY® Award Nominee, four time “Gold Disc Award” recipient and three-time winner of “Best Vocal Album” in Japan, #1 artist in sales and radio in France, with all recordings reaching top five on USA Billboard Jazz Charts, Jazz radio charts, and several reaching #1 on iTunes and Amazon.com to name a few accolades, Eliane Elias has taken her place in the pantheon of music giants. She has sold over 2 million albums during the span of her career.
Elias is known for her distinctive and immediately recognizable musical style which blends her Brazilian roots, her sensuous, alluring voice with her impressive instrumental jazz, classical and compositional skills. With 25 albums to date demonstrating her unique gifts as a pianist, singer, composer and arranger as well as melding her immense talents in jazz, pop, classical and Brazilian music, Eliane Elias is as Jazziz magazine has called her, “A citizen of the world” and “an artist beyond category.”
Multiple Grammy® Award-winning trumpeter Randy Brecker has been a staple of The Jazz Cruise and in the jazz, R&B and rock worlds for over four decades, gracing hundreds of albums of notables like James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen, Parliament/Funkadelic, Frank Sinatra, Steely Dan, Jaco Pastorius and Frank Zappa. In 1966, as a member of Indiana University’s Big Band, he traveled throughout the Middle East and Asia for three months on a tour sponsored by the State Department. Upon moving to New York after college, he appeared with Clark Terry’s Big Bad Band, the Duke Pearson Big Band and the Thad Jones Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra.
Following a stint with the band Blood, Sweat and Tears, he joined the Horace Silver Quintet and, later, Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers before teaming up with his brother, Michael, a tenor saxophonist, as well as Barry Rogers, Billy Cobham and John Abercrombie as fusion group ‘Dreams.’ In 1975, Randy and Michael created the Brecker Brothers Band, releasing six albums and earning seven Grammy® nominations until disbanding in 1981. In spite of Michael’s death in 2004, Randy has continued releasing tribute albums and holding reunion tours with remaining members of Becker Brothers Band. His wife, Ada Rovatti, often fills in on tenor and soprano saxophone. Randy also plays the flugelhorn, composes and is an avid music educator.
One of the most esteemed electric guitarists of his generation, Mike Stern has distinguished himself over a four-decade career that has encompassed musical partnerships with Blood, Sweat & Tears, Billy Cobham, Miles Davis, Jaco Pastorius, the Brecker Brothers and Joe Henderson, as well as 16 recordings as a leader (six of which were nominated for GRAMMY® Awards). An electrifying soloist whose blistering chops combine rock-fusion firepower with sophisticated jazz harmonies and his inherently bluesy string bending prowess, Stern has the ability to instantly elevate the proceedings on any gig or session he plays by channeling the spirits of his own personal guitar heroes Jimi Hendrix, Wes Montgomery, Jim Hall and Albert King.
Stern was recruited by Miles Davis and was part of the jazz legend’s celebrated comeback band (with bassist Marcus Miller, drummer Al Foster, percussionist Mino Cinelu and saxophonist Bill Evans). Stern’s 1993 release And Other Songs earned him the pick of Best Jazz Guitarist of the Year by the readers and critics of Guitar Player magazine. At the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal in June 2007, Stern was honored with the Miles Davis Award, which was created to recognize internationally acclaimed jazz artists whose body of work has contributed significantly to the renewal of the genre. In 2012 Stern was presented with Guitar Player magazine’s Certified Legend Award.
John and Jeff Clayton prove conclusively, that while blood may be thicker than water, it can also carry an unimpeded flow of pure creativity. Their Grammy© nominated quintet The Clayton Brothers, was originally founded in 1977, and while their paths would sometimes diverge, the brothers continued to share a common musical vision that would draw them back together. The brothers place a strong emphasis on sharing what it is they know and thus are dedicated jazz educators who travel extensively to participate in workshops and music clinics around the world. In the fall of 2004, The Clayton Brothers were featured on the cover of JazzTimes' Education Resource Guide, naming them jazz educators for the year.
A Grammy©-award winning artist (Queen Latifah's "I'm Gonna Live Til I Die"), John Clayton gained prominence as a bassist in both the jazz and classical fields. He served as the Artistic Director of Jazz for the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1998 through 2001. His serious study of the double bass began at age 16 under the tutelage of Ray Brown. He held the principal bass chair in the Amsterdam Philharmonic Orchestra for more than five years. He is a composer/arranger/conductor, who counts among his mentors Robert Farnon, Count Basie, Johnny Mandel, Henry Mancini, and Quincy Jones. He has played with and/or written and arranged music for Milt Jackson, Nancy Wilson, Ray Brown, Regina Carter, McCoy Tyner, Carmen McRae, Quincy Jones, Diana Krall, Kurt Elling, Dee Dee Bridgewater (including her Grammy© award winning CD, "Dear Ella" on Verve), Gladys Knight, Natalie Cole, Michael Buble' and many others.
Reed player, Jeff Clayton began his career as both a touring and studio musician. He recorded important albums with, among others, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Kenny Rogers, Michael Jackson, Patti Labelle, Earth Wind & Fire, and solo'd on Madonna's recording "Back in Business". As a jazz musician, he has worked with Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Ella Fitzgerald, Woody Harmon, Lionel Hampton, Lena Horne, McCoy Toner, Dee Dee Bridgewater and many others. Currently, the quintet also consists of John's son, Gerald Clayton on piano (also Grammy© nominated) and Obed Calvaire on drums. Terell Stafford, a highly regarded trumpeter and band-leader in his own right, is also a member of the quintet.
Allen Farnham has been active in the New York City jazz scene as a pianist, composer/arranger, producer and teacher since the early 1980's. He has performed and/or recorded with Joe Lovano, Chris Potter, Eddie Henderson, Frank Wess, Tom Harrell, Arthur Blythe, Special EFX, the John Fedchock NY Big Band, and Charlie Byrd. He has also accompanied a wide range of vocalists, including Mel Torme, Ernestine Anderson, Mark Murphy, Liza Minnelli, Susannah McCorkle, Roseanna Vitro, and Helen Merrill. Farnham has recorded extensively as both a leader and side musician and has worked as a staff producer and arranger for the west coast based jazz label, Concord Records. As a producer, he has produced over 50 albums for such artists as Charlie Byrd, Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Lew Tabackin, Chris Potter, Buddy DeFranco and Jack McDuff. Mr. Farnham's arranging credits include recordings by Eden Atwood, Susannah McCorkle, Veronica Martell, Jesse Davis, and Monty Alexander, as well as his own albums. A graduate of the Oberlin Music Conservatory, Mr. Farnham has been the recipient of grants from the National Endowment For The Arts and the Meet The Composer Foundation. He also holds a Master of Music Degree in Jazz Composition and Arranging from William Paterson University. He is presently an adjunct faculty member of the jazz department at New Jersey City University, Jersey City, New Jersey.
Joe La Barbera has enjoyed a long and varied career in music, a career that has taken him all over the world with some of the finest names in jazz. He is regarded by his peers as a musical drummer and a supportive accompanist. Jazz great Bill Evans summed it up best when he said that “Joe is very dedicated to playing quality music, and he’s willing to make the concessions of dues toward that end. He’s a top soloist and he does the right thing at the right time.” After Berklee and two years with the U.S. Army band at Fort Dix, New Jersey, Joe began his professional career with Woody Herman and the Thundering Herd. The Chuck Mangione Quartet followed with gigs ranging from jazz clubs with the small group to symphony halls with full orchestra. Then it was onto New York and a fruitful two-year period of freelancing with Jim Hall, Phil Woods, Art Farmer, Gary Burton, Art Pepper, John Scofield, Bob Brookmeyer and Toots Thielmans to name just a few. In 1978 Joe was asked to join Bill Evans in what was to become a landmark trio. Along with bassist Marc Johnson, the trio grew over a two-year period to become one of Evans’ finest. Bill’s untimely death in 1980, Joe joined pop singer Tony Bennett.
Currently residing in Los Angeles, Joe is involved in a wide range of music locally, nationally and internationally. On the local scene he is busy with his own quintet as well as sideman duties with many well known jazz artists. Recent dates in North America include performances with Bill Mays, Eddie Daniels, Randy Brecker and brother Pat LaBarbera.
James Morrison is, by anybody’s standard, a virtuoso in the true sense of the word. Besides the trumpet, this multi-instrumentalist also plays piano, all the brass, saxophones, and double bass. At only age sixteen James debuted in the USA with a breathtaking concert at the Monterey Jazz Festival. Following this were performances at the major festivals of Europe including Montreux, Pori and the North Sea, playing with many of the legends of jazz; Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Brown, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, Cab Calloway, Woody Shaw, Red Rodney, George Benson, Ray Charles, B.B. King and Wynton Marsalis to name a few. There were also gigs in the world’s most famous jazz clubs – The Blue Note and Village Vanguard in New York, the New Morning in Paris, The Tokyo Blue Note and Ronnie Scotts in London.
James Morrison’s career thus far has been diverse and perhaps not typical of most jazz musicians. He recorded Jazz Meets the Symphony with The London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Lalo Schifrin, performed concerts at the Royal Albert Hall with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden for Princess Anne. Royal command performances on two occasions for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and for US Presidents Bush & Clinton at Parliament House in Australia. James has also performed his own ‘Concerto for Euphonium’ with the Tonkünstler Orchestra at the Muskverein in Vienna. In 2000 James composed and performed the opening fanfare for the Olympic Games in Sydney.
James spends much time in education, doing master classes and workshops all over the world and presenting the James Morrison Jazz Scholarship at Generations in Jazz.
Dick Golden is a 30-year broadcast veteran and beloved host of popular radio programs on jazz and the Great American Songbook. Following a highly successful career on Cape Cod, Dick joined George Washington University in 2005 as Special Assistant for Broadcast Operations.
Dick currently produces and hosts George Washington University’s award-winning cultural, educational program GW Presents American Jazz heard nationally on Sirius-XM Satellite Radio as well as Washington’s Federal News Radio. The series is produced in partnership with Tony Bennett’s Exploring the Arts Foundation and The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.. Dick has also hosted GW Presents Beyond Category, another joint venture with Tony Bennett, which was honored as a finalist in the Culture and Arts category of the 2008 New York Festivals International Radio Awards competition. In addition, Dick serves as staff advisor to WRGW, the university’s student-run radio station. Dick has lectured at educational seminars for The Smithsonian Associates, and has hosted concerts for The Voice of America as well as programs with U.S. Service Bands in D.C.
Dick will give lectures, conduct interviews and host various events and film shows during the cruise. The Jazz Cruise is proud to include Dick Golden as part of its team.