A concert by Nat King Cole’s younger brother Freddy Cole in late-2010 for me was one of the most enjoyable and unexpected gigs I’d been to in years. Cole, it doesn’t really bother him, had just reprised performing as the voice of his brother Nat on the marvellous animated feature film Chico and Rita.

And at this particular concert playing piano and singing on the small stage of the Pizza Express Jazz Club in Soho’s Dean Street, sometimes standing at a separate microphone, accompanied by the band, he was settling down for a couple of nights. 

Since then he’s been back in London round the corner at Ronnie Scott’s and he’s back there tonight and tomorrow. Definitely a case of do yourself a favour and get down.

When he’s off stage, Cole told me during a break that night at the Pizza, he likes to play golf and take things easy. And maybe he was following the US Open on TV at the weekend.

Onstage golf couldn’t be further from his mind and he brings to life some very old songs by some very hip people, like Billy Eckstine and really knows how to do the lovely Eckstine song ‘Pretty One’. At Ronnie’s he’s with the same band I saw that night, guitarist Randy Napoleon, drummer Curtis Boyd and Elias Bailey on the bass.

Stephen Graham

Freddy Cole, pictured

I’m looking forward to catching Lively Up! later in the year.

The touring festival is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence with a raft of concerts around the country.

The centrepiece of the music is Bob Marley’s 1973 album Catch A Fire reconfigured by the Jazz Jamaica All Stars with the Urban Soul Orchestra and guest vocalist Brinsley Forde of Aswad.

Other elements include a tribute by Nu Civilisation Ochestra to Joe Harriott, a collaboration between Tomorrow’s Warriors and the JazzCotech dancers, and an education strand.  

Dates are: Sat 22 Sep - READING Concert Hall; Fri 28 Sep -  NOTTINGHAM Theatre Royal; Sat 29 Sep -  NOTTINGHAM Lakeside Arts Centre; Sun 30 Sep -  NOTTINGHAM Nottingham Contemporary; Fri 05 Oct -  HARROW Harrow Arts Centre; Sat 06 Oct -  BRISTOL Colston Hall; Sat 06 Oct -  BRISTOL St Paul’s Family Centre; Sun 07 Oct -  BRISTOL Trinity Theatre; Mon 08 Oct -  SOUTHAMPTON Turner Sims Concert Hall; Wed 10 Oct -  BRISTOL St George’s Hall; Fri 12 Oct -  SOUTHAMPTON Guildhall; Sat 13 Oct -  BIRMINGHAM Town Hall; Fri 19 Oct -  MANCHESTER Band On The Wall; Sat 20 Oct -  MANCHESTER RNCM Theatre; Sun 21 Oct -  MANCHESTER Band On The Wall; Wed 24 Oct -  LONDON Queen Elizabeth Hall; Fri 26 Oct -  LEEDS Town Hall; Wed 31 Oct -  LEICESTER De Montfort Hall; and Fri 02 Nov -  EDINBURGH Usher Hall

Stephen Graham

Info: http://livelyupfestival.com

Cover of Catch a Fire, above