Who is Holly Cole?

Holly Cole is a singer who hails from Halifax, Nova Scotia, in Canada. She grew up surrounded by a musical family, and found herself attracted to jazz because it is, in her own words, "classical music for people who are bad!" In 1986, Holly teamed up with pianist Aaron Davis and bassist David Piltch to form the Holly Cole Trio and in 1990, they recorded their debut album, Girl Talk. Together, they have since recorded one live album and four major studio albums.

Holly's trademark has become taking old, well-known tunes from an eclectic array of sources and arranging them into the trio format. She and her two partners in crime have made a name for themselves by "stealing" other peoples' work and rearranging them to the extent that the songs become their very own. The end results are, consistently, nothing short of remarkable.

Her music is all the more remarkable for the breadth of artists from which she chooses the songs for her albums. As a youth, Holly listened to country and western, classical, broadway musicals, the pop of the time, and, of course, jazz. Although she is most often classified as jazz, she is more rightly an amalgamation of all the styles she grew up with, and then some. Nevertheless, through all the categories and classifications, she has managed to synthesize a style for herself that is consistent, and unmistakable.

In 1995, Holly recorded Temptation, an album consisting entirely of songs composed by Tom Waits. With this album, guitarist Kevin Breit and drummer Dougie Bowne were brought in, and the Trio came to an end, at least in name. Kevin and Dougie later toured with Holly, participating in a fateful performance in Montreal which became the material for the live album, It Happened One Night.

With her 1997 release, Dark Dear Heart, Holly strayed from her jazz roots to venture into something of a more pop nature--but her trademark style is still distinguishable. The following year, she released a compilation entitled Treasure, a limited-edition Canadian release from Alert Music, which contains primarily older trio material, and it is credited, rightly, to the "Holly Cole Trio."

Her 2000 release of Romantically Helpless seemed to signal a return to the jazz stylings that made her so popular.