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King Cole Trio, No Greater Small Jazz Band,
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This review is from: The Best of the Nat King Cole Trio: The Vocal Classics (1942-46) (Audio CD)
"Vocal Classics, Volume 1" by the King Cole Trio documents along with "Instrumental Classics" that the Trio was always at its best. It is the equivalent of Ted Williams hitting .406 in 1941, Jim Brown gaining 6 yards a carry every time he touched the ball, Wilt Chamberlain averaging 50.4 points and 25.4 rebounds in 1961-1962 and Wayne Gretzky scoring over 200 points in four out of five seasons.
Most of these songs are great art. "All For You" could have been left off this CD album since it was recorded for Excelsior Records in 1942 before the Trio recorded for Capitol Records as well as "How Does It Feel" since it was never released commercially until 1991 when it was part of Mosaic Records box set entitled "The Complete Capitol Recordings of the King Cole Trio." Also the other version of "Embraceable You", which was released in 1944 on the first King Cole Trio album should have been included in lieu of the V-Disc version. A better version of "What Can I Say After I Say I'm Sorry" was the Trio's 1946 master that was actually commercially released in 1946 on "King Cole Trio, Volume 2" album. The 1945 version was not released the first time until 1955. Capitol Records would have served the fan better by issuing in this package 1946 recording rather the 1945. In my opinion "I Can't See For Lookin' " is more of a classic than "All For You," this version of "What Can I Say After I Say I'm Sorry" and "How Does It Feel" and should have been included instead. And certainly "The Christmas Song" by Robert Wells and Mel Torme recorded by the Trio in 1946 with a string choir is more of a classic than these three songs and should have been part of the release.
The greatest thing about this album is it exclusively consists of what Will Friedwald called the greatest edition of the King Cole Trio (Trio Leader Nat Cole at the piano and doing the vocals, Oscar Moore, guitar and Johnny Miller, bass). No other edition before Miller's arrival in 1942 and Moore's leaving in 1947 ever equalled what these three men accomplished. Other editions of the Trio pale in comparison. Moore as a guitarist and Miller as a bassist, besides being great jazz players, could also sing in tight harmony with Cole as you will hear on Cole's and Irving Mills' composition entitled "Straighten Up And Fly Right." It is unfortunate that two other classic vocals by all three men were not included in the album, Cole's "It Is Better To Be By Yourself" and Ella Fitzgerald's "Oh But I Do." Besides being a great pianist and vocalist, Cole was a phenomenal leader and arranger when he led the King Cole Trio. The inferior quality of "All For You," "What Can I Say After I Say I'm Sorry," and "How Does It Feel" is more than compensated by superior treatment that they provide on the other nineteen selections. It is due in no small measure to Cole's arranging skills. It is his talent as an arranger that makes this a classic album as it is also true of the "Instrumental Classics" album by the King Cole Trio.
I have been a fan of the King Cole Trio since 1963 when I was fourteen years old. Please enjoy this music by a band that was incomparable.
G. E. Williams, the Mercury Man of White Plains, Westchester County, New York