Nat King Cole

Tell Me All About Yourself

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As he'd done on the thoroughly excellent outing Welcome to the Club (1959), Nat King Cole (vocals/piano) once again teams up with Dave Cavanaugh (orchestral arranger) for a sublime slice of refined vocal-led jazz underscored by an equally sophisticated combo. Unlike their previous collaboration, Cavanaugh isn't directing the Count Basie band, but even a trained ear would be hard-pressed to discern the difference, as both the artist and conductor are heard here at the top of their games. The effort obviously translated to listeners, as Tell Me All About Yourself (1960) made it to a respectable number 33 on the Top 40 album survey. The project's title song "Tell Me All About Yourself" benefits from the vocalist's playfulness against the understated swing of the score. As it churns below the surface, Cole maneuvers his lead without ever having to compete with a brash brass section. There is a certain hearkening back to a vintage sound on several selections. Among them are Cole's take on the Sammy Cahn staple "Until the Real Thing Comes Along" and the sweet simplicity of "Crazy She Calls Me," "Dedicated to You," and the closer "(I Would Do) Anything for You." Those back-to-basics versions are contrasted by comparatively modern interpretations of Irving Berlin's "What's the Best Thing for You" and the instrumental muted-trumpet regality that Cavanaugh infuses into the distinguished "When You Walked By."

Cole ably displays his ability to jump and jive with the best of them. He goes head-to-head with the orchestra on the sassy and refreshingly politically incorrect "You've Got the Indian Sign on Me" and the similarly energized "For You."

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