Jimmy Cole

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According to bean-counting discographers, approximately two-thirds of all credits attributed to Jimmy Cole on saxophone are actually for Jimmy Coe. Several record labels have been responsible for this…
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According to bean-counting discographers, approximately two-thirds of all credits attributed to Jimmy Cole on saxophone are actually for Jimmy Coe. Several record labels have been responsible for this error, such as Vogue. This label released sides under the name of Jimmy Cole & His Orchestra that were really the work of Coe, but it could just be a case of a smarty-pants typographer since that extra "l" does look like a saxophone stand if stared at long enough. There was actually a saxophonist named Jimmy Cole who was based in the midwest, however. Tom Lord's Jazz Discography has him showing up on only a pair of sessions considered to be jazz in the early '50s. But Cole's combo also provided backing on all the recordings made by the Indianapolis doo wop group the Counts in the first half of the '50s, suggesting that the saxophonist was active on the recording studio scene. Such a suggestion is laced with a whiff of imagination as the first set of songs cut by this group were actually recorded in someone's living room. But perhaps that living room represented the recording studio scene in Indianapolis, at least at first. Later recordings by the Counts were done in that city's Wilkins Studio.

The circle of musicians involved with backing up doo wop groups inevitably included some jazz players, no matter where the records were being cut. In the early '50s in Indianapolis, that included the great guitarist Wes Montgomery, who was also part of Cole's backup for the Counts at local engagements, but unfortunately not on record. Listeners seeking out material involving Cole's combo should be sure to count their Counts, as there are a few too many groups with this name for the good of the music business. Cole did not back up the group with this name that recorded on Mercury, nor the Counts on the Sun-Set label. Even in Indianapolis itself there was another group with this name, recording for a tiny label called Note, and not featuring Cole. Perhaps the easy way to confirm that it is the right version of the Counts is if the material is next to impossible find. Collectors have been known to fight duels over a copy of "Hot Tamales" on red vinyl the color of picante sauce.