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Nat King Cole Sings / George Shearing Plays Original recording remastered

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9f925090) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f898c78) out of 5 stars Partnership of Cole and Shearing, one for the ages. 2 Jan. 2006
By Mary Whipple - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Though Cole and Shearing came from totally different backgrounds, their approach to music was similar, and in this remastered CD of the original 1961 album, the two find the perfect blend of sound and mood, allowing each to be himself while complementing the other. Cole is a crooner here, singing mellow, usually romantic ballads, and often sliding down the scale to his lower notes. Shearing plays quiet, inventive, and "tinkly" accompaniments in the background, without ever stepping on Cole's notes. Both are gentlemen of the old school who maintain a professionalism and formality which shows clear respect for the audience and for each other, while at the same time conveying a sense of controlled passion and warmth for the music.

Varying the sound from the easy swing beat of "Pick Yourself Up," in which Cole offers gentle advice, rather than an assertive recommendation, to the Latin beat of "Serenata" and "The Game of Love," the very slow ballads of "Lost April" and "I Got It Bad," and the less familiar songs of "There's a Lull in My Life" and "Don't Go," Cole uses phrasings which make overly familiar lyrics suddenly come alive. Shearing, keeping his piano accompaniments relatively simple, adds to the moods Cole creates, while Ralph Carmichael, with the String Choir, fills in the arrangements.

Three songs stand out: "Let There Be Love" begins with a bluesy piano intro and light percussion, until Cole and Shearing guide the song into somewhat louder and jazzier realms near the end. "Fly Me to the Moon" is sung much more slowly than usual, sounding more intimate and private as a result, as if Cole is singing directly to the audience in phrasings that sound conversational. "The Game of Love," with its syncopated Latin beat has a great piano solo by Shearing, flute-y piccolo sounds, and a more integrated accompaniment with the strings. Cole's phrasing is reminiscent of Belafonte here.

For listeners more accustomed to the minimalist percussion and piano accompaniments of modern jazz and ballad soloists, the inclusion of the heavy strings of the String Choir may sound a bit dated and a bit intrusive, an overly romantic (Nelson Riddle-like) element commonly included on recordings at that time. Cole and Shearing adapt to the strings beautifully, leaving room for them while keeping their own styles simple. With beautiful songs rendered even more beautiful by the partnership of Cole and Shearing, this is an album for the ages. Mary Whipple
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f898dc8) out of 5 stars gentle-swingin' moods & two jazz legends ~ Cole & Shearing 15 Mar. 2005
By J. Lovins - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Capitol Records presents "Nat King Cole Sings George Shearing Plays", featuring the voice from heaven and the George Shearing Quintet...sample one of the finest collections ever recorded by an artist who was always on top of the charts. No other singer in the business had the warmth that this man gave during a performance. Along with Frank Sinatra, Cole built the Capitol Towers and brought them fame and fortune. Cole in my estimation did more for Capitol Records than any other recording artist of that time (and that my friend is saying something), but it is the true gospel.

Nat had a tenderness in his voice, completely flawless...he could never deliver a bad tune...his style and signature of making a song his own has never been duplicated. Within this compilation are 15 heartfelt ballads...Some are timeless that remain classics, while others are songs that have never seen the light of day...a collectors dream come true...more selections from the greatest entertainer of our time!

In alphabetical order are the 15 selections:

A BEAUTIFUL FRIENDSHIP (Stanley Styne/Donald Kahn)

AZURE-TE (Bill Davis/Don Wolf)

DON'T GO (Guy Wood/Al Stillman)


GAME OF LOVE (Armando Peraza/Milt Raskin)

GUESS I'LL GO BACK HOME (Willard Robison/Ray Mayer)

FLY ME TO THE MOON (Bart Howard)

I GOT IT BAD AND THAT AIN'T GOOD (Duke Ellington/Paul Webster)

I'M LOST (Otis Rene)

LET THERE BE LOVE (Lionel Rand/Ian Grant)

LOST APRIL (Newman-Spencer-Delange)

PICK YOURSELF UP (Jerome Kern/Dorothy Fields)

SEPTEMBER SONG (Kurt Weills/Maxwell Anderson)

SERENATA (Leroy Anderson/Mitchell Parish)

THERE'S A LULL IN MY LIFE (Mack Gordon/Harry Revel)

Entire collection is a stand out in my book...America never had a more widely beloved ambassador (except for Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong), hope this is a glimpse into the future of better things coming our way if the recording industry ever wakes up to the listeners and fans of good music.

You can't go wrong with any of Cole's albums that are now on CD...many are hard-to-find and some not well known...highlights and stand outs are the entire album with brilliant counter melodies interwoven with lingering arrangements by George Shearing and Ralph Carmichael that instantly became classics with Nat performing them...beautiful and heartfelt ballads with classic orchestrations...featuring Nat's original style are simply captivating...with tender lyrics that bring two lovers together...Nat sings this from the heart and you're loving it...throughout the evening sample this with your favorite Nat completely takes charge savoring wonderful memories of the good times...with String Choir conducted by Ralph we can relive the songs that gave us so much pleasure...remember Nat was with us for such a short time...just sit back, give a listen and enjoy the sounds we grew up with...songs we've come to love over these past plus sixty years...gotta love it!

Nat was awarded a posthumous plaque to the Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Fame, naming him one of the major early influences on rock 'n' roll...they'll never be another pass this way again...thank you Captiol for this release of Nat "King" Cole for the decades of music that followed...his songs will remain with us always and forever...just the way we like 'em!

Total Time: 47:00 on 15 Tracks ~ Capitol 48332 ~ (6/18/1991)
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fe35960) out of 5 stars Brilliant vintage music 8 Mar. 2005
By Enrique Torres - Published on
Format: Audio CD
If you are in the mood for some unforgetable singing and soft , ever so mellow mood music, than look no further. Originally released in 1961 this sonic makeover features three tracks not on the original release eons ago. This was the first time that George Shearing and Nat King Cole recorded together and it made for a historical, memorable recording. The addition of strings to the pairing of Nat's incredibly lush voice and the soft hands of Shearing on piano, coupled with the gentle arrangements by George Shearing and Ralph Carmichael resulted in a sure fire winner. This is soft candle light dinner music. Nat's voice is a rich baritone that even the novice listener cannot mistaken after one listen and is easily recognized by millions throughout the world. Hopefully a younger new generation of appreciative listeners will discover the musical world of the late great Nat King Cole. The pairing of these two jazz-rooted players is swinging and seductive; an intimate expression of soft melodic lovely music results from this recording. Two songs released earlier by Nat King Cole, " I'm Lost " and "Last April " get the Shearing touch with soft, romantic arrangements. It is interesting to note that Nat King Cole, an excellent piano player in his own right lets Shearing take over fully as he only sings complimenting Shearings unique style. All of the songs are excellent, very relaxing down tempo music that evokes the gentle passion of a different musical era that shares the common ground of turn-the- lights-down-low-music. There is quite a bit of music released under the Nat King Cole catalogue including the excellent recently released compilation of sorts entitled "The World of Nat King Cole." There is one song featured on this disc that pairs Shearing and Cole and it is one of the best entitled "Let There Be Love." If you enjoy this song from the recently released disc than you wil probably like the offerings on this classic disc from yesteryear.
HASH(0x9f898f84) out of 5 stars This is exceptional 9 Jun. 2013
By Dennis Bianchi - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
These two should have made more albums together. They were an exceptional. timeless combination. I cannot listen to it often enough. I have tried to purchase everything I could find from Shearing and this is one of my favorites.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f89e030) out of 5 stars Musical magic 1 Oct. 2012
By Annie Van Auken - Published on
Format: Vinyl
On CAPITOL Record's 1963 LP entitled NAT KING COLE SINGS/GEORGE SHEARING PLAYS (SW 1675), the piano/vocalist master of trio cocktail music steps from behind the keys to accompany Shearing's quintet and Ralph Carmichael's string choir. It was a first and only collaboration, one that produced some impressive results.

This labels's "Full Dimensional" stereo sound has excellent range and clarity. The Shearing group occupies stage right, Nat's vocals are center and strings reach out to them all from the left channel. Neither Cole or the George's piano are lost in a potentially obscuring mix. Nat's gently romantic delivery is well-complemented by Shearing's pianistic support. It's a thoughtful, quiet set of consistently superior quality, a unique album worth owning for any fan of either of these two men.

The rarely used intro of "Fly Me to the Moon" is heard. "Serenata" has added twin flutes and a laid-back Latin rhythm. "Lost April" and "I'm Lost" are reworkings of previous Cole songs.

[2:57] September Song
[3:10] Pick Yourself Up
[3:43] I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good
[2:42] Let There Be Love
[3:52] Azure-Té
[3:17] Lost April

[2:40] A Beautiful Friendship
[3:29] Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words)
[3:00] Serenata
[3:28] I'm Lost
[2:23] There's a Lull in My Life
[2:30] Don't Go

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