Alexis Cole leaves no doubt that she is a major Jazz star even though a lot of the Jazz world is still yet to discover her.”

Music Man Blog

Link to short bio

Vocalist Alexis Cole is an accomplished jazz performer with a sophisticated, urbane style and warm, resonant voice, well suited to traditional standards and swing. Cole has performed with the likes of Fred Hersch, Bucky Pizzarelli, Don Braden and Matt Wilson. Although based in N.Y.C., she has played and taught in locales worldwide, including teaching at an affiliate of the Berklee College of Music in Ecuador and as a faculty member in the jazz voice programs at SUNY Purchase, William Paterson University and Western Connecticut State. In 2020 she founded the online educational community and in 2021 co-founded the Virginia Beach Vocal Jazz Summit Her latest online endeavor aims to connect early career musicians with job opportunities.

From 2009 to 2015, Cole enlisted in the Army and was the vocalist with the West Point Band’s big band The Jazz Knights.  Her 2021 release Sky Blossom: Songs From My Tour of Duty on Zoho, collated the arrangements written for her by Jazz Knights music director Scott Arcangel. Her latest release, Jazz Republic: Taiwan, The United States and the Freedom of Swing finds her again with the big band, this time across borders in Taiwan including string arrangements by Arcangel, as well as exploring material by arrangers like Rich DeRosa and Chris Walden.  

Born in Queens, New York in 1976, Cole grew up in a family with a long history of musical endeavors. Her grandmother on her mother's side, who was a pianist and singer of jazz standards, initially taught Alexis "Pennies from Heaven" and other American popular songs. Her father, also a pianist, singer, and composer, gave her initial piano lessons. Moving with the family to Florida, Cole’s mother shepherded her to different foundational experiences. She was a member of the all-county, all-state, and high-school choirs, and attended the New World School of the Arts and won a Young Arts Scholarship, graduating in 1994. She did her first professional engagements as a teenager at a hotel in South Beach. Initially enrolling at the University of Miami in their jazz studies program, Cole returned to the New York area, attaining her Bachelor of Music in 1998 at William Paterson University in New Jersey, tutored by Nancy Marano. 

In 1999, Cole released her independent debut album, Very Early, featuring accompaniment from pianist Harry Pickens. Also around this time, Cole attended the Jazz India Vocal Institute in Mumbai (where she trained in Indian classical singing). In 2004, Cole returned with her sophomore solo album, Nearer the Sun, with pianist Ben Stivers. The following year, she earned her M.M. from Queens College, and then taught privately at the 92nd Street Y in N.Y.C. before becoming a resident instructor at the Berklee School of Music satellite program in Quito, Ecuador. She also participated in the Art of Jazz in Toronto, and was the music director of the Jan Hus Presbyterian Church in N.Y.C. from 2004-2006. In 2007, she delivered her third full-length album, Zingaro, which found her shifting from piano accompaniment and working with bassist Jeff Eckels and guitarist Ron Affif. Two years later, she released her holiday album on Motema, The Greatest Gift, a collaboration that includes Cole’s father, Mark Finkin on piano including one of his original songs, and teenagers from the after school program where Cole worked as an AmeriCorps Volunteer during college. 

Continuing to reinvestigate American popular standards, she focused on Disney Love Songs for 2010's Venus Records release Someday My Prince Will Come with pianist Fred Hersch, harmonica player Gregoire Maret, saxophonist/flautist Don Braden and drummer Matt Wilson. On Motema, she paid tribute to the late baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams on 2012's I Carry Your Heart, with saxophonists Eric Alexander and Pat LaBarbara and channeled sultry romanticism for 2013's Close Your Eyes. Later in 2013 she recorded with the hard bop sextet One For All on another Venus release You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To. In 2014, Chesky Records released A Kiss in the Dark, which featured Cole alongside guitarist Saul Rubin, saxophonist/clarinetist Dan Block, bassist Pat O'Leary, and drummer Phil Stewart. A collaboration with guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli titled A Beautiful Friendship followed in 2015, and a year later she made her Billboard jazz chart debut with Dazzling Blue, a tribute to Paul Simon on Chesky Records. 

Travel has been a constant in Cole’s life. For all of 2001, Cole saw the world from aboard the Carnival Victory with her quartet. From 2002-06 she spent about 5 months a year busking in Europe. From 2007-2009, Cole was resident pianist and vocalist at the Tableaux Lounge in Tokyo’s design district, Daikanyama. Back in NYC in 2019, she entertained nightly at the famous Bemelmans Bar, and toured to Vancouver, Tokyo and around the US. During the pandemic, she lived in for six months in Seoul and spent three months on the Big Island in Hawaii.  In 2022 she spent a month in Taiwan working with the Taipei Jazz Orchestra. 2023 saw her touring the US and Europe with pianist Monika Herzig’s Joni Mitchell Project, Both Sides of Joni. 

Now living in the West Village in NYC, the music continues to take her around the world and back home again, time after time. The lyrics of the lead track of Jazz Republic, “Common Ground” express Cole’s thoughts about her musical family: from her grandmother and father, to her international music family from India to Japan, Taiwan, Korea and Ecuador “In the music, the village never ends.”

 ~ Michael G. Nastos and Alexis Cole 

Here’s what critics are saying about Alexis Cole: 

Here is the supreme stylist at the height of her powers…. The search for the next great jazz singer is over.
—Kevin Jones, Fine Music

—Stephen Holden, The New York Times 

A beguiling voice and charming stage manner.
— Ralph Miriello, Notes on Jazz blog 

Cole displays an exuberant personality, outstanding diction, flawless pitch, and inspired scat technique, all qualities that should place her in the highest echelon of contemporary jazz singers… (She can)…communicate an intimate mood with great passion.
— Thomas Cunniffe, Jazz History Online

A positively talented artist without doubt…There is so much to enjoy and admire (on her latest album, You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To), recommended to all who love great songs sung by an outstanding individual singer. Despite the editor’s pleas not to overdo the star ratings I could not give less than five to such a perfect marriage of vocal and instrumental jazz. Buy it and be immersed in the warm musical ambience.
—Brian Robinson, Jazz Journal International (UK)

I cannot praise the vocal efforts of Ms. Cole highly enough. She is fearless!
—Saul Levine, PD, KJZZ- FM 

Alexis is one of the most underrated singers in jazz. Fantastic voice with great tone and pitch, a strong swing beat, interpretation skills, range, and pacing. The total package singer.  
—Jae Sinnett, PD, WHRV-FM 

I've enjoyed following her career, and seeing her mature into a very fine singer indeed…great tone and proper pitch. The light is still on in the jazz lobby. 
—Brad Stone, PD, KSJS-FM 

One of the great voices of today.
—Jonathan Schwartz 

A deep contralto as smooth and dark as the richest espresso.
— Jazz Times 

A rising star in the jazz world.
—Hot House Magazine.