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Saturday, January 17, 2009

King Cole Trio - Volume 4

Probably in the past few years - after having fully absorbed the greatness of Frank Sinatra- my greatest discovery has been Nat King Cole.. I say discovery in mock tones as you can't discover the guy who built Capitol Records (Its often been said of Capitol that its "the House that Nat built"... But I think it took me a while to realize that Nat King Cole was more than one of the greatest singers of pop or even standards.. He's really one of those three tool allstars. He can hit, run, field, you name it.. Not only is he not just a singer but one of the greatest JAZZ singers (when he wanted to be..before shifting market tastes probably ushered in his change towards the poppier productions such as lazy hazy days of summer or what have you) but he was also an incredible piano player.. who also probably helped bring about the whole concept of what the modern band should be made up of.. I mean I don't know who was first but Nat was probably first to become so pervasive- so of the ether- with the piano/bass/guitar/drums lineup which is arguably still what most bands are.. I just saw Outer Body Llama on Wednesday and thats what it looked like... Well anyhow, Nat King Cole could play the piano like nobody's business and if you need any evidence of that listen to the great Norgan LP titled Lester Young-Buddy Rich which credits the piano -probably for contractual reasons - to AYE GUY (Nat). Anyways this album which I think is made up recordings from 1946 demonstrates much like all of Nat's work where he is featured on the piano that the guy sure could play... Eventually Nat would give up the piano and I guess the trio too BUT in the 1940s and early 50s the King Cole Trio ruled and this 10 inch LP on Capitol H 177 which came out about 1950- in the very early age of the LP..only a year or so into it- collects some of the many many tunes the King Cole Trio had been putting out in the 1940s... One of my great regrets is having got rid of the Mosaic set of the Complete Nat King Cole Trio recordings... anyways this 10 inch lp is but a small taster.. Looking at the back of the 10 inch LP I'm struck by the fact that it looks like the drummer was white which would be interesting as you'd have to wonder if this was one of the first integrated bands or not?? ANyways to get back to the point: I'm glad to have discovered the greatness of Nat King Cole and I think its a shame that he's become a sort of unknown forgotten figure among the young.. unlike say Frank Sinatra who retains a certain hipster/coolness cache it seems to me that Nat King Cole is considered your grandparents music.. and that he was- which should mean a lot- but I find his music to have an enduring quality to it that lives on continually invigorating.. As Tony Bennett said at Wolftrap in reference to the "old" standards he was performing and I paraphrase "The old songs are just so incredible I just can't help but keep playing them.." Well Nat King Cole's music is just incredible and I find it continually invigorating...$1

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