Forgotten 1949 Carnegie Hall Concert
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Before his smoky croonin', Nat was know as a virtuoso jazz pianist who could swing harder than anybody. His piano stylings helped shape the sounds of Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson, George Shearing and Art Tatum. His Carnegie Hall performance was an event of a lifetime!
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Top Customer Reviews
However, do not think that this album is the first (or last) to show off Nat's virtuoso piano skills. His playing at Jazz at the Philharmonic concerts showcased those. Check out Jazz At The Philharmonic: feat - Body And Soul [ORIGINAL RECORDINGS REMASTERED] from a July 1944 concert for evidence.
What I love about this album, aside from the historical value, is the music itself. The fifteen tracks are pure Nat King Cole in jazz form. Another treat, because I am a Woody Herman fan, is when his herd joins in on Last Moon, adding icing to a musical cake for me.
Nat's trio at this concert did not include any of the original members. Irving Ashby replaced Oscar Moore on guitar and Joe Comfort took over Johnny Miller's bass spot. Plus, by this point in Nat's career, it was Nat King Cole and his Trio, not the Nat King Cole Trio. The third member was percussionist Jack Costanzo who played bongos on this album.
While Ashby is my second favorite trio guitarist and Comfort's bass was solid, the synergy of the original trio was not there in this performance. Or it just may be my imagination. Regardless, the music is consistently excellent and guarantees that this album will get a lot of play time.
The sound is fairly good for the period, although an audiophile would probably find fault. I wish Ashby and Comfort were a little more prominent in the mix, but that is a personal desire on my part and not a flaw in the recording as far as I am concerned.
My lead-in to this review was a claim that there were better albums for the casual listener. Among a large body of recorded work, I recommend After Midnight: The Complete Session because the sound is superb, it's Nat returning to his jazz roots, and it's the one album I would recommend to anyone wanting a starting place in listening to Nat.
For hard core fans this album is essential. I also recommend that you check out the Nat King Cole Trio 10-CD Set in addition to this album if you want an excellent collection of his early trio years.