The Second Disc

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Unforgettable – I Think

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For someone with such an iconic tune in “Unforgettable,” there seems to be a lot of Nat “King” Cole’s discography that gets lost in the shuffle. While he’s known for his work as founder of The Nat “King” Cole Trio, and later a pop crooner with few equals, for Capitol Records starting in 1943 (indeed, the label’s famous Hollywood offices are informally called “the house that Nat built”), he did a great deal of work for other labels – not only with The King Cole Trio, but as a piano man for other jazz luminaries.

These recordings have been released in various configurations over the years largely¬†through Universal Music Group (owners of much of the pre- and non-Capitol material), but there’s never really been an ultra-definitive take on this work altogether – at least, not along the lines of, say, Mosaic’s 18-disc The Complete Capitol Recordings of The Nat King Cole Trio (1991). (Discographical information regarding these years is even harder to find online.)

That is, until now. Hip-o Select, through the burgeoning Verve Select imprint, has announced Riffin’: The Decca, JATP, Keynote and Mercury Recordings, a lavish triple-disc box that covers this early and often overlooked period in Cole’s career. The program includes those early King Cole Trio singles for Decca as well as studio tracks in which Cole backed jazz masters like Lester Young, Willie Smith, Buddy Rich and Dexter Gordon, plus Cole’s live ivory-tickling at the first-ever Jazz at the Philharmonic concert in 1944. The package includes lots of rare photos (including little-seen album and single sleeves) and liner notes by famed music writer David Ritz.

Pre-order it here and hit the jump for the full track list. (Sorry, no in-depth discographical notes herein – there’s too much information and too little of it can be found online.)

Nat King Cole & Friends – Riffin’: The Complete Decca, JATP, Keynote and Mercury Recordings

Disc 1: The King Cole Trio & The Keynoters

  1. Sweet Lorraine
  2. This Side Up
  3. Honeysuckle Rose
  4. Gone with the Draft
  5. Gone with the Draft (Alternate)
  6. Babs
  7. Early Morning Blues
  8. Scotchin’ with the Soda
  9. Slow Down
  10. This Will Make You Laugh
  11. Hit the Ramp
  12. I Like to Riff
  13. Stop! The Red Light’s On
  14. Call the Police
  15. Are You Fer It?
  16. That Ain’t Right
  17. Hit That Jive, Jack
  18. Honey Hush
  19. Thunder
  20. Stompin’ at the Panama
  21. (Bedtime) Sleep, Baby, Sleep
  22. Honey Hush (Alternate)
  23. The Way You Look Tonight
  24. Airiness a la Nat
  25. I Can’t Believe That You’re in Love with Me
  26. My Old Flame

Disc 2: Jazz at the Philharmonic, 1944

  1. Lester Leaps In (Live)
  2. Tea for Two (Live)
  3. Blues (Live)
  4. Body and Soul (Live)
  5. Sweet Lorraine (Live)
  6. The Man I Love (Live)
  7. I’ve Found a New Baby (Live)
  8. Rosetta (Live)
  9. Bugle Call Rag (Live)
  10. One O’ Clock Jump (Live)
  11. Oh, Lady, Be Good!

Disc 3: Dexter Gordon, Lester Young & Keynote Alternates

  1. I’ve Found a New Baby
  2. Sweet Lorraine
  3. Rosetta
  4. I Blowed and Gone
  5. I Cover the Waterfront
  6. Somebody Loves Me
  7. I’ve Found a New Baby
  8. Back to the Land
  9. I Want to Be Happy
  10. Peg O’ My Heart
  11. Mean to Me
  12. The Man I Love
  13. I Cover the Waterfront (Alternate)
  14. The Way You Look Tonight (Alternate)
  15. Airiness a la Nat (Alternate)
  16. I Can’t Believe That You’re in Love with Me (Alternate)

Written by Mike Duquette

April 16, 2010 at 23:36

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