A Man and his Music – William Price King meets Nat King Cole -Part one.

You will have met my guest contributor today if you are a regular visitor to the Sunday Show and also in a recent post on Buy Music for Christmas. For most of us going through our own 60s…..the music of artists such as Nat King Cole remains as evocative as ever.  It is amazing to think that he was only in his 40s when he died.  A short life but boy did he pack in the living.   I asked William if he would be interested in posting some articles that showcased the events and the music that still is enjoyed by all ages nearly 70 years after his death.

William Price King – Jazz composer, musician and singer.


For over 30 years William Price King has been paying his tribute to two musicians who have influenced not just musicians but all of us as we listened to their music. Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. Certainly many love stories began and sometimes ended whilst dancing to their music. In the next few weeks William will be sharing some of their most iconic music, the musicians who influenced their passion for music and the highs and lows of their careers and personal lives.

I will now hand you over…..

Nat King Cole – The Early Years.

Nat King Cole was born under the name of Nathaniel Adams Cole on March 17, 1919 in Montgomery, Alabama. His parents were Edward Cole (Baptist preacher) and Perlina Cole (church organist). He had three brothers, Eddie, Ike, and Freddy, and a half- sister Joyce. When he was four years old his family moved from Montgomery to Chicago. It was at that time that Nat started discovering music as a passion of his own. Under his mother’s tutelage he learned to play the organ and would soon make his first performance as a singer interpreting “Yes. We have no bananas,” a novelty song by Frank Silver and Irving Cohn from the 1922 Broadway revue Make it Snappy by Eddie Cantor. The song had become a major hit in 1923.

There have been many covers of the song over the last 90 years and here is one of the first recordings with Irving Kaufman providing the vocals. You can hear why it might have ignited a young boy’s imagination

Nat’s passion for music continued and led to formal piano lessons by the age of 12, as he pursued jazz, gospel, and the classics from Bach to Rachmaninoff. The family lived in the Bronzeville a neighborhood of Chicago. He would sneak out of the house and hang around outside the clubs, listening to artists such as Louis Armstrong, Earl Hines, and Jimmie Noone. Not only did the piano lessons train his fingers but these artists further developed his “ear.” Here is an early piece by the great Louis Armstrong and if you compare some of the ballads that Nat King Cole was to become so famous for it is clear that he took influences from the Master of Jazz.

Nat was inspired by another of the great musicians of the time Earl Hines who was hugely popular in the late 20s and early 30s. He was one of the most influential musicians in the development of Jazz Piano and in later years Count Basie said that Hines was “The greatest piano player in the world.” Here is one of his iconic pieces – Boogie Woogie on Saint Louis Blues

Nat was hooked on the heady music that was not only being played but also recorded at the time. He wanted in and he dropped out of school at the age of 15 to play “jazz piano” full time. He took a stage name almost immediately, from Nathaniel he chose “Nat.” His brother, Eddie, a bass player, joined with him as he formed his first trio. He then took the name “Nat King Cole,” which was derived from an old nursery rhyme “Old King Cole.” That was the beginning of what was to become a legend. The trio performed in all of the jazz venues in the Chicago area making their first professional recording in 1936.


One of their first recordings was “It’s only a Paper Moon” and here is the Nat King Cole Trio in 1933. It also featured on their first album along with some of their versions of some of the iconic songs of the period, written by such amazing composers and lyricists as Billy Rose.

Next time we move into the 40s and 50s with its iconic tunes that are still so popular today.

William Price King – Jazz composer, musician and singer.

William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His debut jazz album is called ‘Home,’ a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

Links to website – http://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue – http://cave-wilson.com/
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

Find out more about William at these two links.

Sources and Album Cover


20 thoughts on “A Man and his Music – William Price King meets Nat King Cole -Part one.

  1. Pingback: A Man and his Music – William Price King meets Nat King Cole -Part one. | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  2. Pingback: Saturday Round Up- Or Herding Cats. | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  3. Pingback: A Man and his Music – William Price King meets Nat King Cole. Part Two | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  4. Pingback: Memories are made of this…Music that takes me back. | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  5. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:

    William is taking a summer break from his series A Man and his Music and deservedly so.. I know that he is also working on his own compositions and really looking forward to hearing those later in the year. He will be back in September with the story of Quincy Jones but in the meantime I am going to reblog his first series on the amazing and talented Mr. Nat King Cole. For those who missed the series I hope you enjoy this time around and for those who did view at the time, a reminder of some of the wonderful performances of this jazz legend.


    • Not a problem – I sometimes give a credit to the person who uploaded but most of the older songs there are fine. Just click on the link for the particular video and control C. in your post click add media and it offers you the option to add a link from YouTube on the left hand side.. click that and it will give you a bar to control V the link.. insert in post. In your draft it will appear as an HTTP but once you post you should find the video in place. Look forward to it and will get my thinking cap on for what song I would like played at my cremation.. XXS


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