Helpless Dancer

The Endless Note

Sunday Jazz – The Nat King Cole Trio

Almost a perfect Sunday Album.

The smoky, smooth pop vocals of Nat King Cole make us tend to forget that, at heart, he was essentially a jazz performer. His piano proficiency, vocal phrasing, and utter coolness all hark back to his jazz roots which are ideally demonstrated on this album.

Listening to him as pianist and not just as a vocalist, it is easy to understand why Diana Krall rates him as her primary influence, to the extent of recording a whole album in tribute to him and his Trio.

Nobody could sing “Sweet Lorraine” like Nat and he recorded it several times, the first with his Trio in December of 1943.  After Nat evolved into more of a “singer” than a “piano player” in the 1950’s, his jazz audience clamored for more of the “old Nat”, and he obliged with the series of recordings which make up the “After Midnight” album.

During August and September of 1956, Nat invited some guest musicians in with him to re-record some of the old Nat King Cole Trio hits from the 40’s like “Sweet Lorraine”.  In this instance, the great Count Basie sideman, Harry “Sweets” Edison took the honors on his trumpet.

Included was this version of Bobby Troup’s “Route 66” unusual in the way that Nat sings “six six” and not the original “sixty six”

“Route 66” – Nat King Cole and his Trio

 

 

to buy the music of Nat King Cole click HERE

June 19, 2011 Posted by | Jazz Vocal, Old Music, Video | , , | Leave a comment

Sunday Jazz – George Shearing

Somehow the news of Sir George Shearing OBE dying on 14th February in New York from heart failure at the age of 91 had passed me by until yesterday when I noticed an obituary in a magazine.

George Shearing enjoyed an international reputation as a pianist, arranger and composer.  Equally at home on the concert stage as in jazz clubs, Shearing is recognized for inventive, orchestrated jazz. 

He has written over 300 compositions, including the classic “Lullaby of Birdland,” (words by George David Weiss) which has become a jazz standard since it’s creation in 1952, the title being a reference to Charlie “Bird” Parker and the club named after him.

Oh, lullaby of birdland, that’s what I
Always hear when you sigh,
Never in my wordland could there be ways to reveal
in a phrase how I feel
Have you ever heard two turtle doves
Bill and coo, when they love?
That’s the kind of magic music we make with our lips
When we kiss
And there’s a weepy old willow
He really knows how to cry,
That’s how I’d cry in my pillow
If you should tell me farewell and goodbye
Lullaby of birdland whisper low
Kiss me sweet, and we’ll go
Flying high in birdland, high in the sky up above
All because we’re in love

Born in 1919 in the Battersea area of London he moved to the US in 1942 to seek out a career in jazz and became well-known and respected over a period of time, however, it was 1949 when he formed a quintet to record “September in the Rain” for MGM.  The record was an overnight success and sold 900,000 copies. 

His U.S. reputation was permanently established when he was booked into Birdland, the legendary jazz spot in New York.  Since then, he has become one of the country’s most popular performing and recording artist.

For a full biography click HERE

Click HERE for a full obituary as published in The Guardian.

My own tribute comes from two tracks from my favourite albums featuring him.

First up is his brilliant album recorded in 1959 with the great Peggy Lee

“Don’t Ever Leave Me” – Peggy Lee & George Shearing

Don’t ever leave me, now that you’re here
Here is where you belong
Everything seems so right, when you’re near
When you’re away, it’s all wrong

I’m so dependent when I need comfort
I always run to you
Don’t ever leave me, ’cause if you do
I’ll have no one to run to

I’m so dependent when I need comfort
I always run to you
Don’t ever leave me, ’cause if you do
I’ll have no one to run to

Next up is Shearing’s 1961 recording “Nat King Cole Sings/George Shearing Plays”

“Pick Yourself Up” – Nat King Cole & George Shearing

Pick yourself up…
Take a deep breath…
Dust yourself off
And start all over again.

Nothing’s impossible, I have found
For when my chin is on the ground.
I pick myself up,
Dust myself off
And start all over again.

Don’t lose your confidence
If you slip
Be grateful for a pleasant trip
And pick yourself up,
Dust yourself off
And start all over again.

Work like a soul inspired
Until the battle of the day is won.
You may be sick and tired,
But you’ll be a man, my son.

Will you remember the famous men
Who had to fall to rise again
They picked themselves up
Dust themselves off
And start’d all over again.

~interlude~

Work like a soul inspired
Till the battle of the day is won.
You may be sick and tired,
But you’ll be a man, my son.

Will you remember the famous men
Who had to fall to rise again?
So take a deep breath…
Pick yourself up…
Dust yourself off
And start all over again.

To buy the music of George Shearing click HERE

March 13, 2011 Posted by | Jazz, Jazz Vocal, New News, Old Music, Uncategorized, Video | , , , | Leave a comment

   

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