1. September Song
2. Pick Yourself Up
3. I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good
4. Let There Be Love
6. Lost April
7. A Beautiful Friendship
8. Fly Me To The Moon
10. I’m Lost
11. There’s A Lull In My Life?
12. Don’t Go
13. Everything Happens To Me
14. The Game Of Love
15. Guess I’ll Go Back Home
16. Dear Lonely Hearts
17. Miss You
18. Why Should I Cry Over You?
19. Near You
20. Yearning (Just For You)
21. My First And Only Lover
22. All Over the World
23. Oh, How I Miss You Tonight
24. Lonesome And Sorry
25. All By Myself
26. Who’s Next In Line?
27. It’s A Lonesome Old Town (When You’re Not Around)
Nat King Cole – Vocals
George Shearing – Piano (tracks 1-15)
Emil Richards – Vibes (tracks 1-15)
Al Hendrickson – Guitar (tracks 1-15)
Al McKibbon – Bass (tracks 1-15)
Shelly Manne – Drums (tracks 1-15)
Ralph Carmichael – Arranger and conductor: String Choir (tracks 1-15)
Belford Hendricks – Conductor: Orchestra and Chorus (tracks 16-27)
This 1961 album is a classic. It not only spawned
a long-running chart hit (Let There Be Love) but it paired
two of the most talented jazzmen in a true meeting of minds. George
Shearing called it “one of my favourite albums of all time” and gave
as an example the time that Nat Cokle suggested they should play Pick
Yourself Up. Shearing had already made a version of this tune
famous with his trademark quintet and didn’t feel like doing it again,
but Cole chose just the right tempo to refresh the song.
The two men were in a way blood brothers, both being important pianists and sharing an easy approach to swing which was both clever and accessible. Their
empathy and generally gentle approach makes for a perfect blend. The above-mentioned Pick Yourself Up is an excellent example. Shearing’s previous
version took the song at a fair lick but Cole turns down the intensity and increases the intimacy. George’s solo with his quintet is cushioned by discreet
strings arranged by Ralph Carmichael.
Let There Be Love
is still one of the outstanding tracks, with Shearing’s bluesy introduction wafted in on the strings before the key changes to bring in Nat’s enticing
vocal. George’s piano is always subtle, making no attempt at dominance but behaving as the finest accompanist. Other notable tracks include A Beautiful Friendship, where the Shearing Quintet sound comes into its own, and the deliciously slow I’m Lost.
Tracks 13 to 15 are extra tracks added to the original LP.
The remaining items come from Nat Cole’s album 1962 LP Dear Lonely
Hearts, which consists mainly of soupy countrified ballads overloaded
with heavenly choirs. It seems like an anti-climax after the numbers
with Shearing. But those numbers make this CD worth buying for its
first 15 tracks alone.