28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Without doubt the best Nat Cole album you can buy. Some of his classic Jazz Trio albums may be more important, and his easy listening vocal albums were better sellers but this is the best compromise.
Both a fabulously laid back Jazz album and a vehicle for Nat's wonderful vocals. Add in guests Harry Edison on Trumpet, Willie Smith on alto Sax, Juan Tizol Trombone and Stuff Smith on violin and you have a perfect album.
Nat Cole was one of the great Jazz Pianists before his vocal skills stole the limelight. He was a big influence on Oscar Peterson. When you listen to this album everything he plays (and sings for that matter) seems effortless, and thats because as a pianst he was blessed with great technique. In the 1940's he won numerous awards as best Jazz Pianist.
However this album also shows off that pure and eloquent voice. Every word and syllable is clear. The only other singer I know with a comparable voice is Johnny Hartman. So buy this album and you get the best of both worlds. Nat King Cole, great Piano playing and great voice, plus wonderful guests = 5 star CD.
48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on 31 March 2002
A CD with everything you want from Nat King Cole, his voice, his piano, his trio, his kind of jazz and some great guests sitting in. This is the ultimate King Cole recording made in 1956, with five tracks partnered by Harry Edison (trumpet), five with Willie Smith (alto sax.) four with Juan Tizol (valve trombone) and four with Stuff Smith (violin).
I found Juan Tizol disappointing probably because I like my valve trombone player to be a bit more aggressive but the other three fitted in with Cole and the trio superbly. It was my introduction to Stuff Smith and how that man can swing. Harry Edison is everybody's favorite from Sinartra onwards and Willie Smith has a very lyrical style that fits so well with the songs in which he plays.
Throughout Nat and his trio produce some really fine jazz, soft, easy to listen to, on a CD that is well mastered and produced.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
If an alien or longtime cave-dweller were to ask you what singing is, you could do worse than play him/her/it this all but immaculate disc, featuring as it does Nat Cole doing what he did best - and better than most - which was not only playing a mean piano but also singing with unique style, class and perfect taste.
One nice surprise about this 1956 recording is the number of less well-known songs, from You`re Looking At Me to Two Loves Have I. Cole`s repertoire was a little different from, say, Sinatra`s or Tony Bennett`s. Another bonus is the presence on many of the tracks, alongside his regular sidemen, of trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison, Willie Smith`s alto sax, Juan Tizol on valve trombone and the violin of the splendidly named Stuff Smith. All add shadings to the mix, though none of the playing here is as exploratory or incendiary as it might have been on a `straight jazz` date. On top of it all we have the ever-stylish piano of Cole himself, a singer & pianist who influenced just about everyone who heard him, from Ray Charles to Oscar Peterson.
These songs (the twelve on the original LP plus five welcome, and very fine, extras
plus one alternate take) slip down with no fuss, Nat`s smoky voice and velvet tone
reminding me, oddly perhaps, of the first Guinness I had on Irish soil, similarly velvet-smooth and, appropriately, unforgettable.
The CD is well-packaged, with Ralph Gleason`s original liner notes and some new ones from remaster supremo Michael Cuscuna (on leave from Blue Note?) along with one of Capitol`s evocative covers. It all reeks of effortless class, as does the toughly tender music within.
Wonderful music, sublime singing, from one of the indisputable greats.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 7 June 2010
I suppose most people think of Nat Cole as one of the best, if not the best, singers of romantic ballads. Yet true fans will know he started life as a jazz pianist and, in those early days, had to be coerced into breaking into song. Having later achieved worldwide acclaim as a singer, he largely turned his back on his jazz roots, albeit controversially and to the annoyance of many of his following. This collection provides the most notable exception and features Nat with a small but highly select group of supporting jazz musicians. He sings on every track, in that familiar, polished way, and the results are sublime.
I once owned an old vinyl copy of this album, released on the budget 'music for pleasure' label, but wore the thing out through sheer over use. This is one and the same, but with the added bonus of several additional tracks not included in the first offering. Of the dozens of Nat's works that I have, this is probably my favourite. For romantic ballads with full orchestral settings, buy 'Love is the Thing'. For the 'real' Nat King Cole, buy this - you won't be disappointed.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 22 June 2010
Mainly remembered as one of the very best popular singers, Nat Cole reminds us on this album that he was also first and foremost a great jazz pianist. His relaxed and swinging style influenced many who came after him but no one surpassed him. This collection presents his trio supported on each track by a guest soloist,either Harry Edison, Willie Smith, Juan Tizol or Stuff Smith. Nat is in fine voice and his piano playing is all you would expect. Every track is rewarding and there are six bonus tracks not included on the original release. Buy this with confidence.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 16 March 2007
I agree with the previous reviewer and urge you buy it if you enjoy catchy tunes, easy listening music and, especially, Nat's golden voice. This album is streets ahead of any of the Nat collections on offer, where I feel he was often shoehorned into singing standards or other songs in a style that wasn't really his own. You can hear from the utterly effortless perfection of delivery on these lightly jazzy tracks that Nat was completely at home in this genre. The sound quality is great too.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is a great addition to the corpus of work by the Nat `King' Cole Trio, with Nat also doubling on vocals as well as playing piano. The original 12 tracks from the LP are here but the CD features an extra 6 bonus tracks. The Trio are here - Nat with John Collins (guitar) and Charlie Harris (drums). Some tracks have Lee Young on drums, Jack Constanzo on bongos or congas, `Sweets' Edison (trumpet), Willie Smith (alto sax), Juan Tizol (trombone) and Stuff Smith (violin) - what a combo!
Several of the Nat Cole standards are here including `Just you, just me', `Sweet Lorraine', `It is only a paper moon', `Get your kicks on Route 66' and a couple of takes of Bobby Troup's `You're looking at me'. But Nat always seems to be able to pick tunes to record that few others have. The only other time I have heard `Two loves have I' is on the only LP Mavis Rivers made with Nelson Riddle -
`Take A Number'. Some numbers are up-tempo, others more slow and romantic, as fits the midnight hour, like the lovely versions of `You can depend on me' and the standard `Blame it on my youth' by Oscar Levant with Eddie Heyman's lyrics. This CD is a real treat for jazz and easy-listening fans alike!
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 14 August 2008
this is amazeing if youre newto nat king cole this is where to start its cool and lush i also like love is the thing album too buy this its classic jazz album i love it buy it!!
on 31 July 2014
IF U LIKE THE MAINSTREAM NAT COLE THIS WONT BE 4 U.THIS IS NAT IN TOP NOTCH JAZZ SINGER WITH SMALL GROUP SETTINGS RECORDED IN 1956 AND IN MY OPINION NATS BEST ALBUM WITHOUT A SHADOW OF DOUBT.
on 29 January 2015
What can you say? Nat King Cole at his smoothest. A wonderful collection of beautiful songs, performed by a master and some fantastic musicians.