Nat "King" Cole

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Decades: 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s
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Nathaniel Adams Coles, 17 March 1919 (although 1916 and 1917 have also been cited), Montgomery, Alabama, USA, d. 15 February 1965, Santa Monica, California, USA. Cole was born into a family that was both deeply religious and intensely musical. He learned to play piano at home when only four years old through his mother, Perlina Adams Coles, and, later, played organ at the church of which his father, Edward James Coles, was pastor. By then, the family was living in Chicago where they had moved in the early 20s. He took lessons in the classics but this was Chicago and jazz was the exciting popular music of the younger generation. At school, he led a dance band and also played piano in a group led by his bass-playing older brother, Eddie. Like Eddie, he dropped the last letter of the family name for professional purposes. It was with Eddie, who had played with Noble Sissle’s band, that he made his first recordings, in 1936, by which time he had decided firmly...

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