Heads up, everybody! Here comes Volume Five in the Classics Nat King Cole chronology. This portion of the timeline runs from November 28, 1944 to May 23, 1945, charting the singing pianist's professional progress in trio sessions for Capitol and V-Disc as well as a date with the Capitol International Jazzmen, an all-star group composed of trumpeter Bill Coleman and reedmen Buster Bailey, Benny Carter and Coleman Hawkins backed by rhythm section mates Nat King Cole, Oscar Moore, John Kirby and Max Roach. Two of the four titles recorded by this group on March 30, 1945 have vocals by jazzwoman Kay Starr. During this period the King Cole Trio was at the height of their powers as a unit. While the leader's excellent vocals were now beginning to take center stage, the instrumental tracks, for example "A Pile O' Cole" and "A Trio Grooves in Brooklyn" are solid swinging small band jazz at its finest. The three instrumentals that close out this compilation are similarly rewarding. Two of them, Jacques Offenbach's "Barcarolle" and that gentle air from the 1890s, Edward MacDowell's "To a Wild Rose," were not issued to the public until years later. The third tune recorded that day, a flashy treatment of Maceo Pinkard's "Sweet Georgia Brown," came out on a 78 rpm platter as Capitol 239. It will satisfy anyone looking for a rousing example of how this trio sounded with the throttle wide open.
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AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf