Nat "King" Cole Penthouse Serenade / The Piano Style of Nat King Cole
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by Nat "King" Cole ~ Wild Is Love ~ $14.38
- Released: August 27, 2007
- Originally Released: 2007
- Label: Collector's Choice
Description by OLDIES.com:
Had Nat Cole never sang a note, he still would have ranked among the top jazz pianists of all time. His first record for Capitol, the 1952 10" "Penthouse Serenade" (later issued as a 12" in 1955, which is the version we've released here), was an all-instrumental outing seemingly intended to put his more freewheeling Trio days behind him, a fairly straightforward set of numbers with a moody, contemplative streak that lifted them above the standard cocktail lounge into, well, the penthouse! We've paired that record with Nat's enthusiastic 1956 return to the keyboard on the all-instrumental "The Piano Style of Nat King Cole", a Nelson Riddle-arranged project of which Nat was so fond he picked 16 songs to record, which was a lot in those days (this CD squeezes the two albums in at the outermost limit of 80 minutes). Half accompanied by strings, half accompanied by an orchestra, Nat truly does display his "Piano Style" at its best here.
- 1.Penthouse Serenade (When We're Alone)
- 2.Somebody Loves Me
- 4.Once In A Blue Moon
- 5.Polka Dots & Moonbeams
- 6.If I Should Lose You
- 7.Rose Room
- 8.I Surrender, Dear
- 9.It Could Happen To You
- 10.Don't Blame Me
- 11.Down By The Old Mill Stream
- 12.Little Girl
- 13.Love Walked
- 14.My Heart Stood Still
- 16.I Never Knew
- 17.Stella By Starlight
- 18.What Can I Say After I Say I'm Sorry
- 19.I Didn't Know What Time It Was
- 20.Taking A Chance On Love
- 21.April In Paris
- 22.I Want To Be Happy
- 23.I See Your Face Before Me
- 24.Just One Of Those Things
- 25.I Get A Kick Out Of You
- 26.If I Could Be With You
- 27.I Hear Music
- 28.Tea For Two
Personnel: Nat King Cole (piano); John Collins (guitar); Norris "Bunny" Shawker (drums); Jack Costanzo (conga drum, bongos).
Liner Note Author: James Ritz.
Arranger: Nelson Riddle.
This entry in mail-order firm Collectors' Choice Music's series of reissues of Nat King Cole albums pairs two instrumental collections he recorded in the 1950s. In its original form as a 10," eight-song LP, Penthouse Serenade, recorded on July 18, 1952, found Cole returning to the small-band format of his jazz playing days in an ensemble that featured him on piano, John Collins on guitar, Charles Harris on bass, and Bunny Shawker on drums (with Jack Costanzo joining in on bongos and conga on "Rose Room," "Once in a Blue Moon," and "Down by the Old Mill Stream"). Three years later, on July 14, 1955, Cole re-entered the studio to cut another four songs so that the album could be reissued as a 12-song, 12" LP. Two songs each were added to the ends of the two sides of the album. Thus, Tracks one-four and seven-ten here comprise the original version, with Tracks five, six, eleven, and twelve being the later additions. At the time Cole did that 1955 session, he was also in the middle of sessions for another instrumental LP, The Piano Style of Nat King Cole, this one featuring a big band and strings (on alternating tracks) arranged and conducted by Nelson Riddle. That material takes up Tracks 13-28 here, resulting in a CD that fills the format's capacity by running 80 minutes. It should be noted that, while Cole's mastery of the piano is as evident on these recordings as it was on his earlier, more jazz-oriented work, his orientation by this time, even as an instrumentalist, is in more of a pop direction. The collection is full of standards by such composers as George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Jimmy McHugh, James Van Heusen, Richard Rodgers, Vernon Duke, Vincent Youmans, Arthur Schwartz, Cole Porter, and Burton Lane, and especially on the Piano Style selections, the emphasis is on melody and orchestration over any jazz improvisations Cole comes up with. The Penthouse Serenade tracks naturally allow more space for the piano work, but even here Cole is not straining for invention. Nevertheless, the music is enjoyable, if in more of an easy listening sense than the pianist's '40s classics. ~ William Ruhlmann
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