Nat King Cole

Route 66: 48 Classic Tracks

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This is a double-CD set documenting Nat "King" Cole as a jazz trio leader, before he was recast as an international pop star and song stylist. The trio's instrumentation is piano, electric jazz guitar, and acoustic bass. This drummerless lineup gives freer reign to Cole's soulful vocals and piano melodies. While Cole was not yet a star, many of his star-making hits are in this collection. Besides the title track, there are "I Love You (for Sentimental Reasons)," "Straighten Up and Fly Right" (which flew up to the Top Ten in 1944), and others. As an intersection of jazz and pop and the nascent beginning of one of the century's great song interpreters, Route 66 is an excellent and classic collection.