Riffin': The Decca, JATP, Keynote & Mercury Recordings

Riffin': The Decca, JATP, Keynote & Mercury Recordings

by Nat King Cole


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Riffin': The Decca, JATP, Keynote & Mercury Recordings

Nat King Cole spent virtually all of his career with a contract from Capitol. (The classic Capitol Records tower, near Sunset & Vine in Hollywood, wasn't known as "the house that Nat built" for nothing.) But his earliest sides appeared on a range of labels, including, but not limited to, Decca, Keynote, and Mercury. (Aside from what's heard here, the King Cole Trio recorded dozens of effervescent songs between 1938 and 1941 for transcription services, music that has only rarely been commercially issued.) Riffin': The Decca, JATP, Keynote and Mercury Recordings puts a wrapper around a fair share of his non-Capitol sides, some of them early (Decca) and some of them live (JATP) and some of them as a sideman (complete with hilarious noms de plume) for Lester Young and others (Mercury). Best are the early King Cole Trio sides, from 1940-1941, when the group was still writing songs and delivering them with the energy and flair of a club act, making mini-masterpieces from off-the-cuff songs "I Like to Riff," "Call the Police," and "Stop! The Red Light's On." Novelties for sure, but novelties with tight group interplay that showed what small-group swing could do, along with bouncing solos from Cole's piano that earned him fame and influence far beyond what the singer of "Unforgettable" could have garnered. Also well-deserving of attention is his 1946 session with Lester Young (and drummer Buddy Rich) for a Mercury album that sees him giving Young the best accompaniment he would ever receive. The JATP sides cover a Jazz at the Philharmonic concert from 1944 where Cole's piano was heard (faintly) with a jam session including flamboyant, roof-raising solos from Les Paul, Illinois Jacquet, and J.J. Johnson, among others. (Cole's modesty in these circumstances is humbling.) This three-disc wrap-up isn't a unified set -- despite the material ranging only from 1936 to 1944 -- but it captures His Majesty in a range of circumstances; quite fitting for the man esteemed by jazz fans as one of the greatest pianists of all time, and by vocal fans as likely the best interpreter of popular song in the 20th century.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/29/2010
Label: Hip-O Select
UPC: 0602527176437
catalogNumber: 001338402
Rank: 277370

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Nat King Cole   Primary Artist,Piano,Vocals
Paul   Guitar,Soloist
Eddie Cole   Bass,Vocals
Harry Edison   Trumpet
Dexter Gordon   Tenor Saxophone
Illinois Jacquet   Tenor Saxophone,Soloist
Buddy Rich   Drums
Willie Smith   Alto Saxophone
Lester Young   Tenor Saxophone
Oscar Moore   Guitar
Jack McVea   Tenor Saxophone,Soloist
Jimmy Adams   Drums
Red Callender   Bass,Soloist
J.J. Johnson   Trombone,Soloist
Johnny Miller   Bass,Soloist
Wesley Prince   Bass
Kenneth Roane   Trumpet
Shorty Sherock   Trumpet,Soloist
Tommy Thompson   Alto Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Jackie Mills   Drums
Lee Young   Drums,Soloist
Bill Wright   Tenor Saxophone
Carolyn Richards   Vocals
Jacquet   Soloist
Clifford "Juicy" Owens   Drums

Technical Credits

Demento   Memorabilia
George Gershwin   Composer
Count Basie   Composer
Eddie Cole   Composer
Harry Edison   Composer
Earl Hines   Composer
Fats Waller   Composer
Lester Young   Composer
Irving Mills   Composer
Oscar Moore   Composer
Jimmy McHugh   Composer
Vincent Youmans   Composer
Cindy Walker   Composer
Andy Razaf   Composer
Jerome Kern   Composer
Jack Pettis   Composer
Fred E. Ahlert   Composer
Norman Granz   Liner Notes
Irving Caesar   Composer
Nat King Cole   Composer
Buddy DeSylva   Composer
Redd Evans   Composer
Dorothy Fields   Composer
Ira Gershwin   Composer
Edward Heyman   Composer
Ballard MacDonald   Composer
Taps Miller   Composer
Billy Myers   Composer
Jack Palmer   Composer
Mitchell Parish   Composer
Wesley Prince   Composer
Elmer Schoebel   Composer
Roy Turk   Composer
Spencer Williams   Composer
David Ritz   Liner Notes
Henri Woode   Composer
Hollis King   Art Direction
Arthur Johnston   Composer
Skeets Tolbert   Composer
Joe Young   Composer
Sam Coslow   Composer
Robert Sour   Composer
Frank Eyton   Composer
Fred Fisher   Composer
Clarence Gaskill   Composer
Irene Higginbotham   Composer
John Alston   Composer
Alfred Bryan   Composer
Bart Forbes   Cover Illustration
Andrew Skurow   Tape Research
W. Jack Riley   Composer
Philip Manning   Illustrations
Quartet   Composer
Cliff Burwell   Composer
John W. Green   Composer
Hiro Furukawa   Memorabilia
Earl Dramin   Composer
Kohji Mastubayashi   Memorabilia
Tohru Seya   Memorabilia

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