From the Vault...


Nat King Cole Trio
"The Best Of-The Instrumental Classics"

© Capitol Jazz Records

Year of Release: 1992

track listing
  • Jumpin' At Capitol
  • The Man I Love
  • Body And Soul
  • Prelude In C Sharp Minor
  • What Is Thing Thing
    Called Love
  • Easy Listening Blues
  • Sweet Georgia Brown
  • This Way Out
  • Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
  • Honeysuckle Rose
  • Rhumba Azul
  • Moonlight In Vermont
  • How High The Moon
  • I'll Never Be The Same
  • These Foolish Things
  • Laugh Cool Clown
  • Bop Kick
  • Peaches

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    Nat King Cole Trio
    "The Best Of-The Instrumental Classics"

    Nat King Cole was best remembered for his crooning-styled voice, and many of his vocal song hits. But what many may not know, is that he was a high-rated accomplished instrumentalist, preferably on the piano. The Nat King Cole Trio (He, along with bassist Wesley Prince and guitarist Oscar Moore) was formed as early as 1940. And this week's review, The Best Of The Nat King Cole Trio-Instrumental Classics captures their music, from 1943 to 1949.

    This is as good as any Jazz release gets. Its cool, smooth jazz will entertain anyone. Fast Jazz, Smooth Jazz, Cool Jazz. This is Pure Jazz. And it's Nat King Cole, on piano. Guitarist Oscar Moore is close-but-yet-so-far, compared to that of Les Paul on some tunes. But it's the piano that surely stands out on most songs, and for many, it is a surprise to learn that it is performed by Nat King Cole.

    Where do I start? Seriously, there is no bad song on this album. It's pure Jazz, and the best early sounding Jazz you will ever hear. There's Gershwin ("The Man I Love"), Cole Porter ("What Is This Thing Called Love"). And speaking of Les Paul, there's his hit by the NKTrio that Les Paul and his wife, Mary Ford, "How High The Moon." Even Nat King Cole himself had written some of these songs: "This Way Out," "Rhumba Azul," and "Bop Kick." Remember the Harlem Globetrotters? Their theme song is also covered -- "Sweet Georgia Brown." (It's a very fast-paced version by the Trio here.) And the Platters' "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" is another highlight. Nat King Cole's wife Nadine (named Nadine Robinson) also wrote songs: "Jumpin' At The Capitol," "Easy Listening Blues." Another standout song that many others have covered, "Moonlight In Vermont." Another highlight is the Tropical Jazz sounding "Laugh! Cool Clown."

    Again, the surprising information to learn, was how talented Nat King Cole was, as a piano player. Not only that, the entire Trio is exceptional. All the songs blend extremely well, with the exceptional piano, bass and guitar. Before the Rock & Roll Era, The Nat King Cole Trio achieved two #1 albums. The self-titled Nat King Cole in 1945 (12 weeks), and Nat King Cole Trio Volume 2 in 1946 (4 weeks). Of course, he would achieve more popular with his vocal hits, such as "The Christmas Song," "Mona Lisa," "(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons" and many more.

    Nat King Cole left us way too early of cancer, at the age of 45 in 1965. His daughter, Natalie Cole, was an exceptional artist on her own. Sad to say, she passed away recently, in 2015 of congestive heart failure. She was 65. What was incredible, is how she recorded an album of her father's songs, and through the use of technology, to have both father and daughter sing together. "Unforgettable" was the standout of the many songs, as Natalie recorded two albums, dedicated to her father.

    For the true Jazz fan, The Nat King Cole Trio's music is a must to own, and listen to. The three instruments of piano, bass and guitar from the Trio is exceptional, and truly defines of what really good Jazz should sound like. Even for guitar fans, Oscar Moore's guitar playing is another highlight, likewise Nat King Cole's piano playing. The Nat King Cole Trio were together for 10 years. Both Wesley Prince and Oscar Moore have passed on -- Wesley Prince in 1980, and Oscar Moore in 1981. The Nat King Cole Trio I've pretty sure are playing some incredible Jazz up there, likewise with both father and daughter singing with them too. The Nat King Cole Trio's music lives on, and should be enjoyed by all.

    © All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Capitol Jazz Records

    Previous Review: #1602
    Paul McCartney--Run Devil Run
    Next Review: #1604