Nat Cole played such an indispensable role in the early success of Capitol in the 40s and 50s that the label’s famous cylindrical, “stacks of wax”-shaped tower building – one of Hollywood’s most iconic edifices – was often referred to as “the house that Nat built.”
While it can be plausibly argued that Capitol’s rise to corporate riches was hugely reliant on their velvet-voiced cash cow, it’s also feasible that the Alabama-born Cole wouldn’t have morphed convincingly from a cult jazz pianist into a mainstream pop crooner without the input of Nelson Riddle.
The redoubtable New Jersey arranger, two years Cole’s junior, first hooked up with the singer to form a fecund and symbiotic creative partnership that predated his celebrated collaborations with Sinatra. The extent of Riddle’s input is revealed on this well-packaged 216-song box set that spans the decade 1950- 60. Many of Cole’s immortal performances are present – including Mona Lisa and Unforgettable – but the set also features material from lesser-known albums, exemplified by selections from 1956’s The Piano Style Of Nat ‘King’ Cole, an instrumental LP that spotlights Cole’s considerable yet largely unheralded piano skills. Charles Waring - Record Collector Mag
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