Ronnie Cole is a second generation jazzman whose father was the alto saxophonist and clarinetist Rupert Cole, a member of big bands led by Louis Armstrong and Cootie Williams. While the younger Cole chose a different instrument family to explore than his father's, musical rebellion against paternal authority doesn't seem to have been an overall factor. Ronnie Cole wound up playing much of the same sort of classic jazz as his father, although he did play drums behind tenor saxophonist Benny Waters, capable of creating sounds that might have bent the old man's reeds at least slightly.
The career of Cole the younger spans the period from the close of the '50s to 1987, when the drummer seems to have cut his last recording session to date, a live fling with Waters. He was also active in the '80s with the Harlem Blues & Jazz Band, an ensemble with regularly shifting personnel that was created by Albert Vollmer, a jazz fanatic who made enough money as a dentist to launch a project devoted to vintage performers from the swing era. Another context Cole often worked in was duos with keyboardists. There are albums along these lines recorded in the '60s with players such as Ram Ramirez and Sir Charles Thompson. On the subject of keyboardists, Cole should not be confused with the pianist Ronnie Kole, a sidekick of trumpeter Al Hirt, but frequently is nonetheless.