CD: Nat Cole

Nat King Cole, The Forgotten 1949 Carnegie Hall Concert (Hep).

Cole’s trio and the Woody Herman Second Herd teamed up for a successful concert tour, with Carnegie Hall a high spot. It was recorded but never before issued. Now, here it is, with Cole’s singing and piano playing at a high level. He included many of his famous numbers—“Sweet Lorraine,” “Lush Life,” Body and Soul,” “Bop Kick” among them—and a terrific new piece called “Cuba Libre” by the trio and bongoist Jack Costanzo. Herman’s band shows up only on a supercharged “More Moon.” It ends the CD so powerfully that we can hope there is more Herman from this occasion.

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  1. says

    According to my friend David Lennick (a broadcaster/producer/monumental collector) and source of the Hep master, it was recorded on a disc (or two, or three), not a tape… To this point, the Herman portion of the concert seems to not have surfaced.

    And while annotator Will Friedwald suggests Buddy Savitt is the tenor soloist on “More Moon”, I’d vote for Don Lanphere…

    • Doug Ramsey says

      I grew up listening to Lanphere. The solo is his, without a doubt. Furthermore, in my copy of the CD booklet, Friedwald writes, “There are solos by tenor (Don Lanphere), trombone (Bill Harris), and Herman himself on clarinet.”

  2. says

    Hmmm — I swear on the grave of Jelly Roll Morton, my booklet reads (scan available on request): “There are solos by tenor (probably Buddy Savitt), trombone (Bill Harris), and Herman himself on clarinet, plus a few drum breaks by Shelly Manne. Not too shabby.”

    I wonder if my booklet is from a different print run?

  3. says

    Thanks for the recommendation, Doug.

    Have ordered the CD right away, and I’m really curious how the unknown tune “Cuba Libre” sounds. (Slightly off topic: By the way, I have a Nat ‘King’ Cole LP, “This Is Nat ‘King’ Cole,” whose former Cuban owner has written the date of the purchase on the back of the cover: “3 de Mayo de 1958”, which was exactly eight months before the Cuban revolution.) – Another reason why I’m especially looking forward to hear “Cuba Libre”.

  4. says

    Bruno, you may want to drink a Cuba Libre as much as hear it… It’s a simple cocktail of light rum, Coca-Cola and lime juice. I’m pretty sure that would be the Cole topic in 1949. 😉

  5. says

    Ted — My late father introduced the cocktail to me when I was seventeen. As soon as the CD arrives here, I will mix one, and then I’m gonna be cooling down with Cole. Whilst anticipating that, I’m waiting for “More Moon” 😉