Nat King Cole

1941-1943

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The King Cole Trio cut a total of 16 sides for the Decca label beginning in December of 1940 (see Nat King Cole 1940-1941 -- Classics 773). Volume Three in the Classics Nat King Cole chronology gathers together perhaps for the first time all of the recordings he made between July 16, 1941 and November 2, 1943. The first eight tracks constitute the second half of Cole's Decca discography. "Hit the Ramp" is a finely crafted instrumental; the trio sings several hip novelties: "Call the Police," "Stop, the Red Light's On," "Are You Fer It?" and a soon-to-be-famous rendition of Skeets Tolbert's "Hit That Jive, Jack." Cole handled the sentimental "This Will Make You Laugh" and his own original blues, "That Ain't Right," soon to be smoothly covered by Slim Gaillard after being transformed into a boisterous duet by Fats Waller and Ada Brown in the 1943 motion picture Stormy Weather. Nathaniel Coles would not record again until July 15, 1942, when he collaborated with bassist Red Callender and tenor saxophonist Lester Young. The recordings that resulted from this unparalleled combination of musical minds were each around five minutes in length; on both the original 12" Philo 78 rpm double-disc album and the subsequent 10" Aladdin LP, the covers read "King Cole Lester Young Red Callender Trio" while the labels on the records identified the group as the "Lester Young Trio." This session resulted in music that belongs among the best jazz that any of the three participants ever performed in a recording studio. It is a prelude to Prez's excellent 1946 trio session with Cole and Buddy Rich. The remainder of this compilation makes available to the public the King Cole trio's little-known recordings made in October 1942 and March and November 1943 for the Excelsior and Premier labels. The next volume in the series opens with this group's very first Capitol recordings, cut at the end of November 1943.

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