Friday, September 15, 2017

Nat King Cole & Friends - Riffin'

Nat King Cole spent virtually all of his career with a contract from Capitol. (The classic Capitol Records tower, near Sunset & Vine in Hollywood, wasn't known as "the house that Nat built" for nothing.) But his earliest sides appeared on a range of labels, including, but not limited to, Decca, Keynote, and Mercury. (Aside from what's heard here, the King Cole Trio recorded dozens of effervescent songs between 1938 and 1941 for transcription services, music that has only rarely been commercially issued.) Riffin' : The Decca, JATP, Keynote and Mercury Recordings puts a wrapper around a fair share of his non-Capitol sides, some of them early (Decca) and some of them live (JATP) and some of them as a sideman (complete with hilarious noms de plume) for Lester Young and others (Mercury). Best are the early King Cole Trio sides, from 1940-1941, when the group was still writing songs and delivering them with the energy and flair of a club act, making mini-masterpieces from off-the-cuff songs "I Like to Riff," "Call the Police," and "Stop! The Red Light's On." Novelties for sure, but novelties with tight group interplay that showed what small-group swing could do, along with bouncing solos from Cole's piano that earned him fame and influence far beyond what the singer of "Unforgettable" could have garnered. Also well-deserving of attention is his 1946 session with Lester Young (and drummer Buddy Rich) for a Mercury album that sees him giving Young the best accompaniment he would ever receive. The JATP sides cover a Jazz at the Philharmonic concert from 1944 where Cole's piano was heard (faintly) with a jam session including flamboyant, roof-raising solos from Les Paul, Illinois Jacquet, and J.J. Johnson, among others. (Cole's modesty in these circumstances is humbling.) This three-disc wrap-up isn't a unified set — despite the material ranging only from 1936 to 1944 — but it captures His Majesty in a range of circumstances ; quite fitting for the man esteemed by jazz fans as one of the greatest pianists of all time, and by vocal fans as likely the best interpreter of popular song in the 20th century.
John Bush

Source :

Nat King Cole
(The Decca, JATP, Keynote & Mercury


Cd. 1

1 Sweet Lorraine (Burwell, Parish)  2:54
2 This Side Up (Cole)  2:44
3 Honeysuckle Rose (Razaf, Waller)  2:31
4 Gone With The Draft (Dramin, Prince, Cole)  2:41
5 Gone With The Draft [alt. take] (Dramin, Prince, Cole)  2:41
6 Babs (Ahlert, Young)  2:24
7 Early Morning Blues (Cole)  2:42
8 Scotchin' With The Soda (Riley)  2:29
9 Slow Down (Evans)  3:07
10 This Will Make You Laugh (Higginbotham)  3:12
11 Hit The Ramp (Cole, Moore)  3:16
12 I Like To Riff (Cole)  2:43
13 Stop ! The Red Light's On (Miller)  2:34
14 Call The Police (Cole)  3:05
15 Are You Fer It ? (Walker)  3:06
16 That Ain't Right (Cole, Mills)  3:12
17 Hit That Jive, Jack (Tolbert, Alston)  2:54
18 Honey Hush (Cole)  2:49
19 Thunder (Cole)  2:44
20 Stompin' At The Panama (Cole)  2:56
21 (Bedtime) Sleep, Baby Sleep (Cole)  2:49
22 Honey Hush [alt. take] (Cole)  3:08
23 The Way You Look Tonight (Kern, Fields)  2:36
24 Airiness A La Nat (The Quartet)  2:36
25 I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me (McHugh, Gaskill)  3:03
26 My Old Flame (Coslow, Johnston)  2:59


Cd. 2

1 Lester Leaps In (Young)  9:09
2 Tea for Two (Youmans, Caesar)  12:35
3 Blues (Etaoin, Jacquet)  10:35
4 Body and Soul (Green, Eyton, Heyman, Sour)  10:37
5 Sweet Lorraine (Burwell, Parish)  3:14
6 The Man I Love (Gershwin, Gershwin)  2:53
7 I've Found A New Baby (Palmer, Williams)  9:33
8 Rosetta (Hines, Woode)  6:42
9 Bugle Call Rag (Pettis, Myers, Schoebel)  4:42
10 One O'Clock Jump (Basie)  2:44
11 Oh, Lady, Be Good ! (Gershwin, Gershwin)  3:03


Cd. 3

1 I've Found A New Baby (Palmer, Williams)  4:39
2 Sweet Lorraine (Burwell, Parish)  4:53
3 Rosetta (Hines, Woode)  5:07
4 I Blowed And Gone (Edison)  4:43
5 I Cover The Waterfront (Green, Heyman)  4:05
6 Somebody Loves Me (Gershwin, DeSyva, MacDonald)  3:53
7 I've Found A New Baby (Palmer, Williams)  4:06
8 Back To The Land (Young)  4:00
9 I Want To Be Happy (Youmans, Caesar)  3:58
10 Peg O' My Heart (Fisher, Bryan)  4:04
11 Mean To Me (Turk, Ahlert)  4:11
12 The Man I Love (Gershwin, Gershwin)  4:51
13 I Cover The Waterfront [alt. take] (Green, Heyman)  3:56
14 The Way You Look Tonight [alt. take] (Kern, Fields)  3:09
15 Airiness A La Nat [alt. take] (The Quartet)  2:37
16 I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me [alt. take] (McHugh, Gaskill)  3:16


[Cd. 1, # 1-17] KING COLE TRIO
Nat King Cole - p & vc
Oscar Moore - g
Wesley Prince - b
Kenneth Roane - tp
Tommy Thompson - as & ts
Bill Wright - ts
Nat King Cole - p
Eddie Cole - b & vc [on "Honey Hush"]
Jimmy Adams - dr
[Cd. 1, # 23-26] THE KEYNOTERS
Willie Smith - as
"Lord Calvert" aka Nat King Cole - p
Red Callender - b
Jackie Mills - dr
Recorded in Los Angeles, California ; December 6, 1940 [# 1-5]  & February 16, 1946 [# 23-26] ; Chicago, Illinois ; March 14, 1941 [# 6-9] & July 28, 1936 [# 18-22] ; & New York, New York ; July 16, 1941 [# 10-13] 
[Cd. 2] 
Collective Personel
Shorty Sherock - tp [# 6-9]
J.J. Johnson - tb [# 1-4]
Illinois Jacquet & Jack McVea - ts [# 1-4 & 6-9]
"'Shorty' Nadine" aka Nat King Cole - p & vc [# 5 only]
Les Paul - g [# 1-5]
Johnny Miller - b [# 1-9]
Red Callender - b [# 6-11]
Lee Young - dr
Carolyn Richards - vc [# 6]
Recorded at the Philharmonic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California ; July 2, 1944 [# 1-9] ; & July 30, 1944 [# 10 & 11]
[cd. 3, # 1-4] DEXTER GORDON
Harry "Sweets" Edison - tp
Dexter Gordon - ts
Nat King Cole - p
Red Callender or Johnny Miller - b
Clifford "Juicy" Owens - dr
Recorded in Los Angeles, California ; late summer 1943 or 1944
[cd. 3, # 5-13] LESTER YOUNG TRIO
Lester Young - ts
"Aye Guy" aka Nat King Cole - p
Buddy Rich - dr [except # 10]
Recorded at Hollywood Recorders, Los Angeles, California ; late March-April 1946
[Cd. 3, # 14-16] THE KEYNOTERS - Alternate Takes
Same personnel ; same place & Date as [Cd. 1, # 23-26]


dogon ad said...

wonderful stuff. thanks so much.

bho wani said...

Superb bouquet ! thank you beaucoup, Mel !

Greeny said...

Simply wonderful,- amazing music, terrific playing. Thank you, Mel!

ita diegues said...

Gracias Melanchthon.

Blue Eyes said...

Fabulous post, love the trio with Oscar Moore! many, many thanks Mel!

Philo said...

Wonderful to have these obscure early tracks. Thanks Mel.

Jazzman77 said...

Thank you Mel for this wonderful set, your work is much appreciated.

TEO said...

Thanks very very much Mel!!!
Great cd set!!!!

hepcat said...

Many thanks for these tracks. Superb.

AmyBRAINS said...

It's really a GREAT POST!!!
Many thanks, Melanchthon.

-Otto- said...

An impressive box set. Thank you, Melanchthon!

adakun said...

Magistral, muchas gracias Mel.

lucky5 said...

Much appreciated!

glinka21 said...

Thanks, Mel! Quite the NKC collection.

deGallo said...

Extraordinary! Thank you.

Jimmy said...

Por favor la contraseña.

Mike said...

Very nice MELANCHTHON! Thanks.

daniel genovese said...

Thank you.

crispi said...

Immense thanks for this HISTORICAL set!

Jimmy said...

Por favor indicar la contraseña. No puedo disfrutar de esta maravilla hasta hoy.

Kovina Kris said...

This is super. Thank you!

Jazzsoulman said...

Thank You

Anonymous said...

Please there a problem with cd 2 link 2 is the same as link 3
Can you provide us the good link for part 2 ?

Thanks in advance

Melanchthon said...


Cd. 1 + artwork

Cd. 2 & 3

HEXIS said...

Mel. Thanks, thanks very very much much......

Anonymous said...

Thank you

Dubley said...

Many thanks for this.