Stepping out of a Dream

Nat King Cole

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Stepping out of a Dream Review

by Adam Greenberg

From HearMusic's Opus Collection line comes Stepping Out of a Dream, a collection of Nat King Cole's higher quality songs as deemed by the compilation experts. The collection focuses on the work from the '50s and '60s, making only passing reference to his earlier piano work. The feature that sets this compilation apart from the numerous other Cole retrospectives is the song selection. The producers avoided the most obvious choices and the standards of Cole's career, replacing them with a number of basic standards from the jazz repertoire imbued with his outstanding sense of delivery and timing. On items that did become well known as Cole pieces, an alternate recording is often used, mixing up the bag a bit and keeping the album fresh compared to the standard set of numbers used on the average Cole album. The highlights are in each song with his vocals, though the recordings here make little capitalization of his signature smoky sound (which admittedly developed more toward the end of the period covered). The songs sometimes jump with a little of his earlier jiving feel and sometimes wander through a basic ballad powered only by his lush voice. It is a generally nice album. Pick up the standard fare for the classic signature songs, but snag this one, as well, for a somewhat fuller look at Cole's sound.

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