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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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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
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on 3 January 2016
This is a desert island album, I have an original Capital mono 1962 vinyl copy of this album which sounds amazing even though it's 2 years older than me, as well as the re mastered CD. It is simply one of the most amazing collaborations by 2 jazz music giants talent ever made! There are no bad tracks no fillers. I have listened to it more times than I can remember and it never gets old. Listening to this is album is guaranteed to make you feel relaxed, happy and like being hugged in a warm blanket. Sublime, if you don't own this album don't hesitate just buy it
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on 29 January 2015
Excellent recording. Perfect condition. Very happy with purchase
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Back when this iconic and classic 1962 Jazz Vocals album was first being transferred onto the new spangled format of CD - George Shearing waxed lyrical about his favourite record collaboration receiving an Audio upgrade in the original 1987 liner notes. Well the piano-playing maestro would absolutely flip for this new August 2000 version - because to say that this CD incarnation is lush and smooth is like saying Leonardo Da Vinci was an alright painter and had the occasional good idea. Put simply - this new CD variant of "Nat King Cole Sings/George Shearing Plays" is gorgeous in every Audio way - the meeting of two great talents combined with the right material. Here are the dapper dudes...

UK released August 2000 – "Nat King Cole Sings/George Shearing Plays" by NAT KING COLE and THE GEORGE SHEARING QUINTET on EMI/Capitol Jazz 525 2502 (Barcode 724352525027) is an 'Expanded Edition' CD Remaster and plays out as follows (46:57 minutes):

1. September Song
2. Pick Yourself Up
3. I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good)
4. Let There Be Love
5. Azure-Te
6. Lost April
7. A Beautiful Friendship [Side 2]
8. Fly Me To The Moon
9. Serenata
10. I’m Lost
11. There’s A Lull In My Life
12. Don’t Go
Tracks 1 to 12 are the album "Nat King Cole Sing/George Shearing Plays" - released April 1962 in the USA on Capitol W 1675 (Mono) and Capitol SW 1675 (Stereo). Produced by LEE GILLETTE and TOM ORGAN - Arranged by GEORGE SHEARING and RALPH CARMICHAEL with the String Choir conducted by Carmichael (STEREO mix is used for CD). The album was recorded 19 to 22 December 1961 in Capitol’s Studios in Los Angeles.


The 12-page booklet combines liner notes from George Shearing and Pete Welding (1987) with some addition stuff from WILL FRIEDWALD in 2000. There are discussions of his extraordinary career from 1944 right up to his untimely death in 1965 juts a few years after these sublime Jazz Vocal recordings (shame no pictures though). But all of that is naught to the truly beautiful CD Audio you get the second you start playing the expertly crafted songs. RON McMASTER did the 24-bit Super Bit Mapping Remixes and Remasters from first generation tapes and the sound is spotless – clean – full of presence and warmth. The Stereo is beautifully balanced - every string pluck and breathy vocal as clear as a bell – the Jazz Combo set up suiting both men.

The fluidity of Shearing’s piano fills the soft-shuffle "September Song" – a lovely opening salvo for a largely mellow album. The voice and his playing is the stuff of Jazz Vocal album legend – the perfect compliment to Nat's phrasing and those Ralph Carmichael string arrangements. You might think something as cheesy as "Pick Yourself Up" would not work – but the arrangement gives it fresh legs. The lush strings on "I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)" can only be described as 'sumptuous' and who out there doesn’t feel a tingle of inner glee when that piano intro to the glorious "Let There Be Love" arrives – surely a highlight for the whole record.

The vibe intro to "A Beautiful Friendship" feels like a perfect Martini in your Lounge of choice – his voice stunning and deep. Again he takes an old chestnut and transforms it with a slower arrangement and carefully placed vibes - "Fly Me To The Moon". It sails to a finish with "There’s A Lull In My Life" and the impossibly pretty "Don’t Go" Of the bonus tracks - the Latin rhythms and speed of "Game Of Love" is probably the reason it was excluded – just would have sounded out of place. Better are the two crooning vibe-laden ballads "Everything Happens To Me" and "Guess I’ll Go Back Home" – more in tune with the album’s overall feel

A lovely album and a CD reissue that boasts exceptional Audio. "Let There Be Love" indeed...
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on 21 December 2009
There is no doubt about it, this one is an absolute gem.

Here we have a pianist-turned-vocalist who simply rejoices in what his piano sideman is doing. Nat later described George's "double-doogies" (whatever they are) as something magical and there is no doubt that Shearing was equally inspired by his illustrious lead's vocalising.

Their "Let There Be Love" is a perfection, an evergreen, an immortal and that one track alone is worth the price of the entire album.

George Shearing did it again when he accompanied Peggy Lee on their "Beauty and the Beat" album.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 22 December 2010
Two stars (and more) for the price of one!! Here we have the Shearing Quintet (with Emil Richards on vibes, Al Hendrickson on guitar, Al McKibbon on bass and Shelly Manne on drums) and the strings of the Ralph Carmichael orchestra accompanying, or I should say partnering, Nat `King' Cole. All of the tracks are either slow and romantic (`I got it bad and that ain't good'; `Lost April') or gently swinging (`A beautiful friendship'; `Pick yourself up'; `Let there be love'). There's a fascinating syncopated Latin arrangement of `Everything happens to me' as one of three bonus tracks. Leroy Anderson's `Serenata' is also in a gentle Latin rhythm with some atmospheric flute playing. The arrangements are by Ralph Carmichael and Shearing. A lovely disc.
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on 9 August 2008
The combination of the great man Nat, & the man from England, ( His protege ) was a work of genious. The master (now a vocalist) and pupil as accompanying pianist.
I bought this album some years ago, and the CD version remains in the glove box of my car, to soothe my savage breast, when confronting the other idiots on the road. Super music. Isn't it sad that the young people of today don't know what they are missing ?
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on 7 December 2000
Nearly 40 years ago I bought the LP on which this CD is based. It started a musical love affair with both these fine artists. The bonus is that there are 3 extra tracks on the CD which weren't on the original LP. Hearing this CD again is like being reunited with an old friend.
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on 3 March 2009
George Shearing with piano, and Nat King Cole by singing make this a beautiful cd. I specially like "fly me to the moon". Definetely I'd recommended this cd.
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on 4 January 2010
Wonderful relaxing combination of both artists at their best, I cant stop playing it in the evenings, real unwinding music! Highly recommend!
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