Nat King Cole

Anthology 1949-1955

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Cabu's Nat King Cole Anthology documents his transformation from a gifted jazz pianist with a great singing voice into a charismatic pop star who sometimes sang while seated at the piano. This double-disc compilation maps that stylistic mutation using records cut between January 1949 and August 1955, a period during which the management at Johnny Mercer's Capitol record company accelerated the changes in Cole's career by lining him up with selected performers from the Capitol roster of talent, including orchestras led by Pete Rugolo, Stan Kenton, Carlyle Hall, Ray Anthony, Nelson Riddle, and Billy May. Cole was also paired with vocalists Woody Herman, Dean Martin, Nellie Lutcher, and his wife, Maria Cole. The King Cole Trio show up here and there in this collection, sometimes as an intimate unit but most often overshadowed by one of Capitol's many "orchestras." Authentic jazz players are present throughout most of the anthology, but the real focus was naturally on Nat King Cole's velvety voice. Great moments include "Exactly Like You," Billy Strayhorn's "Lush Life," "Walkin' My Baby Back Home," and the ever-awesome "Angel Eyes." A good introduction to Cole's later work, with cover art apparently intended for publication in Playboy magazine.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
feat: Pete Rugolo
2:26
2
feat: Pete Rugolo
2:39
3 3:03
4
2:21
5
3:12
6
2:31
7
feat: Billy May
3:15
8
feat: Billy May
2:32
9
3:15
10
1:55
11 2:34
12
3:01
13 3:16
14 2:56
15
feat: Dean Martin
2:29
16
2:42
17 3:13
18
1:51
19 3:01
20 1:46
21
3:11
22
2:06
23
2:33
blue highlight denotes track pick