NEW KDHamptons Diary: Cabaret Singer Cole Rumbough
In this NEW KDHamptons Diary, we get to know Cole Rumbough [above], a lifelong East Hamptonite, and accomplished jazz and cabaret singer, who dedicates his art to preserving and promoting the romance and songwriting genius of the American Popular Songbook. Sporting dashing looks of a classic crooner, Cole appears to have stepped out of a scene from the Great Gatsby. He shares, “I have been coming to East Hampton since I was born. It is my favorite place in the whole world!”
At 22, Cole Rumbough is currently a senior at The New School University in Manhattan, majoring in Jazz Voice and History. Since discovering jazz as a teenager, Cole has sung in various venues in the Hamptons with a local jazz duo, as well as private events at the “21” club and La Grenouille restaurant with Peter Duchin. In August of 2012, he was a winner of the Jazz Arts Forum Vocal Competition and performed in the Dobbs Ferry Jazz Festival.
Enjoy Rumbough’s new KDHamptons diary below:
KDHamptons: Please tell us about your family history in the Hamptons?
Cole Rumbough: My grandparents built their house here in the late 1950’s so my father grew up spending summers out here, too. I love it here because my family and friends are all around, we’re right on the ocean, so it’s never too hot and I can fall asleep to the sound of the waves crashing on the shore. I love having lunch at the club [Maidstone], reading a book on the beach or going for a walk, playing golf. It’s so peaceful!
KDHamptons: What’s the best part about being a singer and performing in the Hamptons?
Cole: Jane Hastay and Peter Martin Weiss are the best part! My dear friends are a married couple jazz duo. Jane plays piano and Peter plays bass. They are the best jazz musicians on Long Island. I met them when I was about 14 or 15 when my family was having dinner at The Rams Head Inn on Shelter Island and they happened to be playing that night. I went up and sang a few songs with them. They liked my singing and I liked their playing so we kept in touch and have been performing together around the Hamptons ever since!
KDHamptons: How would you describe your perfect summer day?
Cole: My perfect summer day is sleeping in and waking up to the sound of the waves and the crystal clear view of the ocean’s horizon as the sun turns it into a sea of glittering sapphires. I love sitting on the porch swing with a Dreesen’s donut from Scoop du Jour, which my father would have picked up in town [he’s an early riser] and a glass of orange juice. Then, an outdoor shower with the sun beating down on me. I would bike over to the Maidstone Club and have lunch with my family or house guests or other friends.
After lunch, I would spend the afternoon sitting on the beach with a book, playing in the waves, and walking on the beach looking for shells. Eventually, I would make my way home to take a dip in the pool and have a bowl of ice cream in the jacuzzi. Pure decadence! After another outdoor shower, I love to walk down the boardwalk to the deck we have perched up on the dune, overlooking the beach. It’s the perfect place to watch the sunset while sipping a glass of wine with cheese & crackers. A quiet dinner party at home with my family and closest friends with soft jazz music playing, then snuggling to watch a movie is the perfect way to spend an evening. Maybe even another dip in the jacuzzi after that for some stargazing before bed.
KDHamptons: What inspires you and your music?
Cole: I love listening to all the greats—Ella Fitzgerald, Vic Damone, Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Marilyn Maye, Nat King Cole, etc. What inspires me is two things: listening to an exquisitely flawless voice with a seductive vibrato and impeccable phrasing [i.e. Ella or Barbra], and the second thing is listening to beautifully crafted arrangements by the old masters such as: Johnny Mandel, Nelson Riddle, Gordon Jenkins, and Marty Paich. I listen to many different versions of each song because there are so many different things you can do with a song.
KDHamptons: The Rumbough family is very involved in the New York Mission Society, tell us about this charity?
Cole: The New York City Mission Society helps break the cycle of poverty in Harlem, the Bronx, and other poor neighborhoods with its many programs. Right now we are trying to raise $20 million to renovate the Minisink Townhouse in Harlem, which is the mission’s recreational center. I just recently co-founded the organization’s first junior board, called “The Junior Society,” with my friend Brooke Laing. This makes me the 7th generation in my family to be involved.
My father, Stanley H. Rumbough has been on the board of directors since 1983, and my grandmother, Dina Merrill, since 1946. Before her, my great-grandmother, Elizabeth Colgate was very involved. It goes all the way back to my great-great-great-great grandfather, William Colgate, who started the Colgate Toothpaste Company in 1806. The NYC Mission Society was started in 1812, making it the oldest running charity in Manhattan. We celebrated it’s 200th anniversary with a black tie gala at The Pierre last year, on 12/12/12, to honor Kathryn Chenault and Cicely Tyson. I also sang at the event with The Ray Chew band.
KDHamptons: What is your most memorable performance from summer 2013 in the Hamptons?
Cole: My favorite performance was a casual one at The Rams Head Inn on Shelter Island on Sunday, August 11th with Jane and Peter, playing where we first met. We had a handful of talented musician friends join in and we all had a grand time!
KDHamptons: What is your favorite restaurant? What is your favorite dish?
Cole: I love a 9 oz. medium-rare filet mignon with béarnaise sauce, creamed spinach and three cheese potato gratin on the side at The Palm. Their lobster bisque is a delicious appetizer and the best part, of course, is chocolate cake for dessert. I love the filet mignon at The Race Lane restaurant as well, because it’s served floating on a cloud of truffled pureéd potatoes.
KDHamptons: At only 22 years old, what do you think is the future of jazz?
Cole: That’s a difficult question. I can’t foretell the future, of course, but I’m hoping to become the next generation romantic crooner after Bublé. That would be the dream. One thing is for sure—this style of music is timeless. It’s America’s classical music and will never go out of style.
KDHamptons: What is your Hamptons “look”? Any favorite designers?
Cole: My summer style is very preppy. I love bright colors and soft pastels such as turquoise, coral, bright orange, sea green, sunflower yellow, and powder blue. I’m always wearing white pants in the evening and no socks! I love Lily Pulitzer ties and swim suits. For casual daywear, I’ll stick to collared polo shirts from the Maidstone golf shop, and polo shorts by Ralph Lauren.
KDHamptons: If you could have anyone at your Hamptons dinner party [dead or alive], whom would you invite?
Cole: I would have Ella Fitzgerald, Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Vic Damone, and my great-grandparents, Marjorie Merriweather Post and E.F. Hutton over for dinner because I never got to meet them but with all the wonderful stories I’ve heard, I feel as if I’ve always known them. It might be fun to meet Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn or Marilyn Monroe, too ;)
KDHamptons: How can Hamptonites find out about your upcoming performances?
“Cole Rumbough is nothing short of terrific. When he sings This Could Be The Start Of Something Big, it is a prophetic nod to his future.” – Tom Gates, New York editor for Palm Beach Society Magazine