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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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NAT KING COLE SINGS /
GEORGE SHEARING PLAYS

Jackpot 48736

 

 

1. September Song

2. Pick Yourself Up

3. I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good

4. Let There Be Love

5. Azure-Te

6. Lost April

7. A Beautiful Friendship

8. Fly Me To The Moon

9. Serenata

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.

Tony Augarde
www.augardebooks.co.uk

 



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