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Solo Arrangements of
Nat King Cole

born March 17, 1917, Montgomery, Alabama, U.S.-died February 15, 1965, Santa Monica, California) American musician hailed as one of the best and most influential pianists and small-group leaders of the swing era. Cole attained his greatest commercial success, however, as a vocalist specializing in warm ballads and light swing.

Cole grew up in Chicago where, by age 12, he sang and played organ in the church where his father was pastor. He formed his first jazz group, the Royal Dukes, five years later. In 1937, after touring with a black musical revue, he began playing in jazz clubs in Los Angeles. There he formed the King Cole Trio (originally King Cole and His Swingsters), with guitarist Oscar Moore and bassist Wesley Prince (later replaced by Johnny Miller). The trio specialized in swing music with a delicate touch in that they did not employ a drummer; also unique were the voicings of piano and guitar, often juxtaposed to sound like a single instrument. An influence on jazz pianists such as Oscar Peterson, Cole was known for a compact, syncopated piano style with clean, spare, melodic phrases.

During the late 1930s and early '40s the trio made several instrumental recordings, as well as others that featured their harmonizing vocals. They found their greatest success, however, when Cole began doubling as a solo singer. Their first chart success, "Straighten Up and Fly Right" (1943), was followed by hits such as "Sweet Lorraine," "It's Only a Paper Moon," "(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons," and "Route 66." Eventually, Cole's piano playing took a backseat to his singing career. Noted for his warm tone and flawless phrasing, Cole was regarded among the top male vocalists, although jazz critics tended to regret his near-abandonment of the piano. He first recorded with a full orchestra (the trio serving as rhythm section) in 1946 for "The Christmas Song," a holiday standard and one of Cole's biggest-selling recordings. By the 1950s, he worked almost exclusively as a singer, with such notable arrangers as Nelson Riddle and Billy May providing lush orchestral accompaniment. "Nature Boy," "Mona Lisa," "Too Young," "A Blossom Fell," and "Unforgettable" were among his major hits of the period. He occasionally revisited his jazz roots, as on the outstanding album After Midnight (1956), which proved that Cole's piano skills had not diminished.

Cole's popularity allowed him to become the first African American to host a network variety program, The Nat King Cole Show, which debuted on NBC television in 1956. The show fell victim to the bigotry of the times, however, and was canceled after one season; few sponsors were willing to be associated with a black entertainer. Cole had greater success with concert performances during the late 1950s and early '60s and twice toured with his own vaudeville-style reviews, The Merry World of Nat King Cole (1961) and Sights and Sounds (1963). His hits of the early '60s-"Ramblin' Rose," "Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer," and "L-O-V-E"-indicate that he was moving even farther away from his jazz roots and concentrating almost exclusively on mainstream pop. Adapting his style, however, was one factor that kept Cole popular up to his early death from lung cancer in 1965.

Songbooks, Arrangements and/or Media

Displaying 1-3 of 3 items.

Nat King Cole : Big Band Male Standards - Volume 4 : Solo : Songbook & 1 CD : 888680074043 : 1941566871 : 00147459

Nat King Cole : Big Band Male Standards - Volume 4

Ten swingin' big band standards are included in this collection with a CD featuring two tracks for each song - one demo track and one play-along track so you can be the soloist.

Songlist: Makin' Woopee, Somewhere Along The Way, Too Young, Pretend, Darling Je Vous Aime Beaucoup, Route 66, Walkin' My Baby Back Home, A Blossom Fell, Mona Lisa, Christmas Song (Chestnus Roasting)

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Voicing: Solo | 2998b | Songbook & 1 CD | $24.95 | Voice and Piano

Nat King Cole : Songs In the Style of : Solo : Songbook & CD : 884088267186 : 1423460502 : 00740401

Nat King Cole : Songs In the Style of

Whether you're a karaoke singer or preparing for an audition, the Pro Vocal series is for you. The book contains the lyrics, melody, and chord symbols for nine hit songs. The CD contains demos for listening and separate backing tracks so you can sing along. The CD is playable on any CD, but it is also enhanced for PC and Mac computer users so you can adjust the recording to any pitch without changing the tempo! Perfect for home rehearsal, parties, auditions, corporate events, and gigs without a backup band.

Songlist: Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You, I Found A Million Dollar Baby (In A Five and Ten Cent Store), It's Only A Paper Moon, Makin' Whoopee, Route 66, There Is No Greater Love, Unforgettable, The Very Thought Of You

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Voicing: Solo | Performed by Nat King Cole | 5006b | Songbook & CD | $14.95 | Voice with Jazz Combo

Nat King Cole : Music of the Stars : Solo : Songbook : 884088522636 : 1423497201 : 00001367

Nat King Cole : Music of the Stars

21 American classics recorded by the legendary Nat King Cole, including: Ballerina - Crazy She Calls Me - Don't Get Around Much Anymore - It's All in the Game - Sentimental Journey - There Goes My Heart - Too Young - You Go to My Head - and more.

Songlist: Two Different Worlds, 'Tis Autumn, All By Myself, Blue Gardenia, Destination Moon, Around The World, Avalon, Crazy She Calls Me, There Will Never Be Another You, Ballerina, Don't Get Around Much Anymore, For All We Know, It All Depends On You, It's All In The Game, Sentimental Journey, Teach Me Tonight, There Goes My Heart, Too Young, You Go To My Head, The Late Late Show, My Sugar Is So Refined

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Voicing: Solo | Performed by Nat King Cole | 40158b | Songbook | $14.95 | PVG

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