Page updated January 17, 2023
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Wilbur Cole was born in Silver Creek, Mississippi. His father was a schoolteacher. His mother stayed home to raise Wilbur and his brother and sister.
A self-taught musician, Wilbur started playing the trumpet at the age of 8.
By age 10 he was playing keyboards. His musical background originated in church where he played spiritual and gospel music.
Other instruments include the harmonica and juice harp. Wilbur attended the Prentiss Institute in Prentiss, Mississippi, and served six years in the Army with the 82nd Airborne.
Family ties brought him to Minneapolis.
Wilbur's extensive career, which began professionally in 1960, includes backing up such performers as Diana Ross & The Supremes, Sam & Dave, Leon Hayward, Band of Thieves and Maurice & Mac, in addition to playing with some local Minneapolis-based blues groups--Maurice McKennis, The Blazers and the Excitors.
His music has been influenced by Ray Charles, Jimmy Smith and Fats Domino.
When he's not behind the keyboards, you'll likely find Wilbur behind a rod and reel on a lake, or at a table playing dominos.
"I would like for my music to expand in a way that I may be able to help my family, the elderly and handicapped," he says, "and become a good person through all my relations with my friends."