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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1999 | Capitol Records

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard - Stereophile: Record To Die For
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1999 | Capitol Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard - Stereophile: Record To Die For
Once Nat King Cole gave up playing piano on a regular basis and instead focused on a series of easy listening vocal albums, jazz fans longed for him to return to his first love. These 1956 studio sessions made up Cole's last jazz-oriented disc, where he played piano and sang on every number, joined by several guest soloists. Cole's vocals are impeccable and swinging, while his piano alternates between providing subdued backgrounds and light solos that don't reveal his true potential on the instrument. Willie Smith's smooth alto sax buoys the singer in the brisk take of "Just You, Just Me." Harry "Sweets" Edison's muted trumpet complements the leader in his interpretation of "Sweet Lorraine." Composer Juan Tizol's valve trombone and former Cole sideman Jack Costanzo's bongos add just the right touch to the brisk take of "Caravan." Stuff Smith's humorous, unusually understated violin is a nice touch in "When I Grow Too Old to Dream." It's hard for any Nat King Cole fan to ignore these important sessions. [The original version of this release featured a dozen tracks, later expanded to 17 in the '80s with the discovery of some unreleased material. Yet another track, the alternate take of "You're Looking at Me," was also found and added to reissues beginning in the late '90s.] ~ Ken Dryden
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Vocal Jazz - Released December 12, 2006 | Frémeaux & associés

Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc Jazz Magazine
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1998 | Capitol Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
The year after he had formally disbanded his trio to turn his attention to vocal pop music, Nat King Cole reversed himself and went into the studio with guitarist John Collins, bassist Charlie Harris, and drummer Bunny Shawker and recorded the eight-song 10" LP Penthouse Serenade, a quiet, reflective set of standards like "Somebody Loves Me" and "Laura" that he performed instrumentally at the piano. The album confirmed that, whatever success he might be having as a singer, he hadn't lost his touch. ~ William Ruhlmann
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1987 | Capitol Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Pop - Released January 1, 2013 | Capitol Records (CAP)

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Pop - Released January 1, 2001 | Capitol Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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Pop - Released January 1, 1993 | Blue Note Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Nat King Cole recorded with arranger/bandleader Billy May on several occasions and all of their collaborations are on this excellent double-CD The Billy May Sessions. Dating from 1951, 1953, 1954, 1957 and 1961, some of the more memorable numbers include "Walkin' My Baby Back Home," "Angel Eyes," "Papa Loves Mambo," "Send for Me," "Who's Sorry Now," "The Party's Over" and "When My Sugar Walks Down the Street." Cole also takes organ solos on three of the selections from 1961 (the only time he ever recorded on that instrument), though he plays no piano on this set. It's recommended for his superior middle of the road singing. ~ Scott Yanow
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Pop - Released January 1, 1993 | Blue Note Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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Pop - Released January 1, 1995 | Capitol Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
The albums that Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, and other classic pop singers made in the 1950s usually consisted of standards from the golden era of pop songwriting in the 1920s, '30s, and '40s. For this album, Cole had the idea of putting together a set of newly written songs in the classic style, with typically sympathetic arrangements by Nelson Riddle. "Personally, I hear the magic in all these selections," Cole wrote in the liner notes. "It will be interesting to see whether I'm right." The magic listeners hear today is in Cole's voice, not in the songs, all of which are as forgotten as most of the songwriters. (There are a couple of ringers, such as Johnny Burke, Sammy Cahn, and Paul Weston, but they're not at their best.) ~ William Ruhlmann
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Pop - Released January 1, 2002 | Capitol Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
This rare example of a Nat King Cole live recording captures one of the 20th century's greatest singers in fine voice in 1960 at the Sands, the Las Vegas headquarters of the Rat Pack. The band swings expertly through its sophisticated charts courtesy of legendary arrangers like Nelson Riddle and Dave Cavanaugh, and Cole demonstrates his command of a wide range of styles, from ballads like "I Wish You Love" and "Funny (Not Much)" to show tunes like "Thou Swell" and "Surrey with the Fringe on Top." A few bonus tracks are also featured, including a late-'50s studio recording of Duke Ellington's "In a Mellow Tone" and Cole' sniffy take on the then-still new rock & roll craze, "Mr. Cole Won't Rock & Roll." ~ Steve Goulding
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Pop - Released January 1, 1995 | Capitol Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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Vocal Jazz - Released May 27, 2014 | CAPITOL CATALOG MKT (C92)

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Lounge - Released March 15, 2019 | CAPITOL CATALOG MKT (C92)

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Lounge - Released May 27, 2014 | CAPITOL CATALOG MKT (C92)

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Jazz - Released August 8, 2014 | BnF Collection

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Pop - Released January 1, 1992 | Capitol Records

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Ambient/New Age - Released January 1, 1990 | EMI Gold

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Ambient/New Age - Released September 21, 2018 | CAPITOL CATALOG MKT (C92)

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Crooners - Released January 1, 1987 | Capitol Records

Nat King Cole possessed one of the most accessible and appealing voices of any singer in the 1950s. This ballad-oriented set puts the emphasis completely on his voice (there is no piano playing or any hint of his jazz-oriented past) and features Cole accompanied by Gordon Jenkins' sweet arrangements for a string orchestra. Many other singers might find it difficult to overcome, much less uplift this type of accompaniment, but Cole's basic and honest delivery works quite well in this setting. Highlights include "The Very Thought of You," "But Beautiful," "This Is All I Ask," "For All We Know," and "The More I See You." ~ Scott Yanow

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Nat King Cole in the magazine