Sunday, July 23, 2017

Nat King Cole - Hit That Jive, Jack

One of the most popular jazz recordings ever made featured two men who were not primarily thought of as jazz musicians at all, and who later went on to achieve success far beyond that field. The record, part of one of Norman Cranz's early Jazz At The Philharmonic albums, was “Blues (Part Two),” on which tenor saxophonist Illinois Jacquet honked and screeched and sat on one note in a way that drove the audience wild. (For years afterward, his successors on the JATP tour had to hit that one note with a pretense of passion in a way that became as routinely fraudulent as the moment when James Brown got down on one knee and began to divest himself of his costume.)
This flashy stuff is what sold the record, but the musical meat was contained in a brilliant colloquy between guitar and piano, culminating in a witty exchange of fours. The guitarist was Les Paul, who went on to become, well, Les Paul, and the pianist, at the time under exclusive contract elsewhere, was listed as Shorty Nadine. Mr. Nadine was really Nat Cole, at the time married to a Woman named Nadine, and his inclusion on a Jazz at the Philharmonic album is the best indication l can think of as to where his roots actually lay. Nat King Cole, as he came to bill himself, was of course one of the most popular vocalists ever to appear in American music, and that fame very quickly obscured a remarkable talent for jazz piano. The recorded beginnings of both facets of that unique talent are to be heard on this collection. And perhaps the most remarkable thing about this collection is the version of “Sweet Lorraine,” which was actually the very first number he recorded for Decca. Cole did not do especially well on the Decca label, and the sixteen selections here are the only ones he ever made for them. lt is not so much that he was let go as that his contract simply was not renewed. And on the basis of sales, there is no particular reason why it should have been. But when he signed with Capitol Records, a new Hollywood firm which had already signed Stan Kenton (whose manager, Carlos Gastel, also managed Cole), one of his earliest records, and his first hit, the side that made his first big reputation, was a “Sweet Lorraine” that, vocal embellishments and all, is practically note for note what he had previously recorded for Decca. Listen, and you'll hear for yourself. I have no idea in the world why the Decca version didn't become a smash, and probably no one else does, either.
Joe Goldberg, liner notes (booklet)

Nat King Cole
Hit That Jive, Jack
(The Earliest Recordings 1940-41)


1 Sweet Lorraine (Burwell, Parish)  2:53
2 Honeysuckle Rose (Waller, Razaf)  2:30
3 Gone With the Draft (Dramin, Prince, Cole)  2:39
4 This Side Up (Cole)  2:43
5 Babs (Ahlert, Young)  2:22
6 Scotchin' with the Soda (Riley)  2:28
7 Slow Down (Evans)  3:06
8 Early Morning Blues (Cole)  2:40
9 This Will Make You Laugh (Higginbotham)  3:14
10 Stop ! The Red Light's On (Miller)  2:36
11 Hit the Ramp (Cole, Moore)  3:20
12 I Like to Riff (Cole)  2:45
13 Call the Police (Cole)  3:07
14 Are You Fer It ? (Cole, Lee)  3:07
15 That Ain't Right (Cole)  3:13
16 Hit that Jive, Jack (Tolbert, Alston)  2:55


Nat King Cole - p & vc
Oscar Moore - g
Wesley Prince - b

Recorded in Los Angeles & New York ; between December 6, 1940 & October 22, 1941


Melanchthon said...

deGallo said...

Thank you.

slr in tx said...

You can't go wrong with Nat!

Thanks, Mel.

Anonymous said...

An all-time Classic, thank you dear MM.

Kovina Kris said...

Very nice to upgrade this Nat King Cole. Thank you Mel!

sep troelstra said...

Many thanks!!

Tarara Bumdiay said...

Many thanks.

NickS said...

Thank you.

Historicus said...

Thanks a lot for sharing!!!

Blue Eyes said...

Superb audio restoration! many thanks Mel for this great compilation!

musician3 said...


Malaspina said...

Great stuff.Thanks Mel.

Fred Archtop said...

Wow...I love Nat, especially with Oscar. Thanks a lot.

Chris said...

thanks mel great entertainment

The Jackal said...

Mel, great addition to the NK Cole library.
Looking forward to the early Oscar Moore guitar.

cucci marino said...

Thank you, Melanchthon!

jose luis said...

Thank you, Mel.