Smorgasbord Summer Music Festival – The Crooners – Part Two – Nat King Cole


When I was about 10 years old, my sister and I would listen to Nat King Cole in the basement which is where our record player was banished to. She had bought a compilaton album of his greatest hits and I fell in love with his voice and the music.

Here are just a handful of his songs that I still play today and I am sure you will have your own favourites to share in the comments.

Grab the one you love for a spin around the room… Unforgettable…uploaded by Sam Novak

Romance personified… Walking My Baby Back Home.. uploaded by JazzNationZ

For all of you who are celebrating a lifetime of togetherness.. When I fall in Love uploaded by dentelTV2

And last but not least….Nature Boy… it has been covered many times but I love Nat King Cole’s version….uploaded by Hugo Marques

I can recommend this album – The Very Best of Nat King Cole which contains these tracks and many more: https://www.amazon.com/Very-Best-Nat-King-Cole/dp/B000F2CAMY

I hope you have enjoyed this music interlude…. more next week… thanks Sally.

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Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Music Column -William Price King – Summer Jazz – Diana Krall Part Two


Welcome to the next artist in the Summer Jazz series and it is the turn of a current jazz superstar to be profiled and showcased. Diana Krall is a music powerhouse who has developed a wonderfully unique performance style that has contributed to the sale of over 15 million records worldwide. I will let William pick up the story.

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For those of you who joined us last week here is how we finished.

In 1990 Diana moved to New York but played mostly in Boston with a trio consisting of herself, bassist Whit Brown and drummer Klaus Suonsaari. This was followed in 1993 with her debut album recorded with Jeff Hamilton, bassist John Clayton with input from Ray Brown. Stepping Out caught the attention of producer Tommy LiPuma who had already worked with some of the best musicians and singers in the business including Barbra Streisand, Miles Davis, Natalie Cole and Anita Baker.

Diana Krall’s first album, Stepping Out, was a wonderful showcase for her stripped back and natural singing voice. The tracks were back to the roots examples of her ability to combine jazz with a lighter element and a touch of humour. Many of the tracks have become classic Krall such as I’m Just a Lucky So & So and This Can’t Be Love. She also brings her own magic to On the Sunny Side of the Street and Body and Soul.

On the Sunny Side of the Street was originally written in the 1930s, allegedly by one of Diana Krall’s early influences Fats Waller, although it is thought he sold the rights to Jimmy McHugh with lyrics added by Dorothy Fields. The jazz standard has been covered by many of the top jazz artists over the decades including Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie and Tommy Dorsey. It was also widely recorded by artists such as Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland and Nat King Cole. I am sure they would all approve of Diana Krall’s version uploaded by RTL – Toujours avec vous

Her second album in 1995, Only Trust Your Heart, produced by Tommy LiPuma was for the American GRP record label. Diana brought her rich alto vocals to the trio ensemble which included Ray Brown or Christian McBride on Acoustic Bass, Lewis Nash on drums and Stanley Turrentine on tenor saxophone.

Tracks included some of the best loved jazz standards such as I’ve Got The World on a String and The Folks Who Live On The Hill. Here is the title track of the album written by Benny Carter and Sammy Cahn written in 1964. Uploaded by gallegomenendezg

As a traditionalist at heart, it was understandable that Diana Krall would pay homage to Nat King Cole, which she did with her next album for the GRP label, All For You in December 1996. Produced by Tommy LiPuma the line-up apart from Diana on vocals included Benny Green on Piano for If I had You, Paul Keller on Bass, Steve Kroon on percussion for Boulevard of Broken Dreams and Russell Malone with guitar. It is tough to pick a track from this album as they are all very evocative of that special time in music history when the Nat King Cole Trio were at the height of their popularity. Despite being a tribute to the trio, the album is very much Diana Krall with fresh and vibrant arrangements of the old classics.

Whilst 1996 ended on a high note with her latest album, 1997 started very well indeed as well with a Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Performance.

Diana was in the studio again with another album Love Scenes released in August 1997. The album reached number one in the Top Jazz Albums and went platinum in the US with a million sales. This time the trio for the whole album consisted of Diana on piano with Russell Malone on guitar and Christian McBride on acoustic bass. The tracks included All Or Nothing At All written by Arthur Altman with lyrics by Jack Lawrence. A hit for Frank Sinatra in the war years; since then for Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughn and more recently Jack Jones. Here is this classic given the Krall treatment uploaded by The Pleasure of Jazz

The last Diana Krall album of the 90s was When I Look In Your Eyes in June 1999 and it was nominated for a Grammy for Album of the Year. This was a record in itself as that most prestigious of awards had not been given to a Jazz album for 25 years. Whilst not taking that award home it did win two Grammys for Best Jazz vocal and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical. It reached number 9 on Billboard’s Top Jazz albums of the decade and went platinum in both Canada and the US.

This album featured two other producers in addition to Tommy LiPuma; David Foster and Johnny Mandel. A new group of musicians featured on the various tracks including Larry Bunker on Vibraphone, Pete Christlieb on saxophone and Lewis Nash on drums.

Diana Krall ended the 90s having become the brightest and most successful jazz artist by stripping the music back to its core roots and infusing it with her own special magic.

To end this week’s post here is a track from When I Look In Your Eyes the well-loved Cole Porter number, I’ve Got You Under My Skin uploaded by Puerto Libre

Buy Diana Krall’s music: http://www.amazon.com/Diana-Krall/e/B000AQ6RNS

Find out more about Diana Krall: http://www.dianakrall.com/

Diana Krall Current Tour Dates: http://www.dianakrall.com/tour

About William Price King

William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.

His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.

While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.

His debut jazz album was entitled “Home,” and was a collection of contemporary compositions he composed, with lyrics written by his wife Jeanne King. His second album was a Duo (Voice and Guitar) with Eric Sempé on the guitar. This album included original songs as well as well known standards from contemporary jazz and pop artists. The “King-Sempé” duo toured France and thrilled audiences for more than three years before going their separate ways. King has formed a new duo with French/Greek guitarist Manolis, and is now exploring new ideas, in a smooth jazz/soul/folk direction.

In addition to singing and composing, King has been collaborating with author Sally Cronin over the past few years on her blog “Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life,” with the series “A Man And His Music – Jazz, Contemporary, Classical, and Legends” and now, the “William Price King Music Column.” Working with author Sally Cronin has been an exhilarating experience in many ways and has brought a new dimension to King’s creative life. King has also created a micro blog, “Improvisation,” which features and introduces mostly jazz artists from across the jazz spectrum who have made considerable contributions in the world of jazz; and also artwork from painters who have made their mark in the world of art. This micro blog can be found on Tumblr.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Tormé. King has a distinctive wide-ranging voice which displays a remarkable technical facility and emotional depth.

William Price King on Tumblr – IMPROVISATION https://williampriceking.tumblr.com

Connect with William

Websitehttp://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/wpkofficial
Regular Venuehttp://cave-wilson.com/ 
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

You can find all of the Music Column series in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-music-column/

and all the previous posts on jazz, classical and contemporary artists here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-a-man-and-his-music-jazz-contemporary-classical-and-legends/

Thank you for tuning in today and I hope you will join us again next Tuesday for the third part of the Diana Krall story –  Thanks Sally and William.

 

 

Smorgasbord Open House – Jazz singer, composer and musician William Price King


smorgasbord open house twoFor the last two years I have had the wonderful experience of collaborating on music posts with my friend jazz singer, musician and composer, William Price King.

We met through Twitter when I was researching guests in the music industry for the first of my Sunday morning shows. I sent William an email and was delighted when he immediately agreed to do the interview.. You can read that original post here. William Price King

I love music and I wanted the blog to reflect this with posts on artists and their work. I needed someone with expertise in the subject to do justice to the subject and approached William in the hopes that he might have the time to write an occasional post. I certainly got more than I bargained for.

Since November 2014 William has been providing us with fascinating insights into the lives and work of some of the greats of the music industry including his two mentors, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme…followed by Ella Fitzgerald, Roberta Flack, Nina Simone, Sir George Shearing, Quincy Jones, Diana Krall and Tony Bennett.. Currently we have a series on the late Natalie Cole which began this week. If you would like a trip down memory lane then you will find the previous series here. Jazz Royalty

Before we head into William’s interview I thought I would give you an brief overview of his life and work to this point and share some of his performances that show the breadth and talent that he brings to the stage.

pricestudioWilliam was born into a family that loved music and both his parents sang in Church. He studied piano from an early age, sang in the Youth Choir and then studied the clarinet at High School. This led to William joining the marching and concert bands and performing in parades at half time at football games. As a family, there were also visits to concerts by the Atlanta Symphony and the opera.

Growing up William was not your typical teenager despite the then rock ‘n’ roll scene and he instead preferred ballads and beautiful singing voices. His first exposure to Nat King Cole was on television and he identified with the emotional expression and phrasing.

William went to the prestigious Morehouse college to major in music and rather than studying the clarinet he took up voice training. This included the classics which suited his voice perfectly and he travelled across the US with his College Glee Club and Quartet. The Glee Club also did many concerts the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and William was one of their soloists.

His first Nat King Cole number that he performed in public was The Christmas Song written ironically by Mel Torme, at a gala in honor of Martin Luther King’s parents. William also felt privileged to have heard Martin Luther King speak at one of his rallies and also the great Sidney Poitier at a graduation ceremony. Here is William with The Christmas Song written by Mel Torme.

William auditioned for the School of Music at Yale University and was given a full scholarship as a classical singer. This opened up wonderful opportunities to travel with the Yale Symphony as a soloist and this included a tour of Europe. Following his graduation, William moved to New York with the attention of following a career in opera but found that he was too young and that it was a challenge to find gigs in the classical field.

This resulted in a change in direction and performance style over the next two years and it was listening to a recording of Mel Torme’s that proved to be a turning point. William immediately felt an affinity with both Mel’s style and delivery and with this revelation came new opportunities including the formation of Au Naturel with two other singers in Manhattan. With a repertoire of jazz and pop the trio auditioned for record companies and agents which led to bookings all over New York including at the famous Rainbow Room.

Here is another performance from William. This time a Mel Torme classic – Love Me Or Leave Me.


William spent his spare time going to performances of the top artists such as Lena Horne, Josephine Baker and Sarah Vaughn and having absorbed elements of their individual talents, he and the trio embarked on a tour of Canada and Europe. This was to be a fateful tour as William met and fell in love with his wife Jeanne when in France and has lived and performed there successfully since then.

I will now hand over to William to share the questions he has chosen about his place of birth, favourite leisure pastime, the most important event to affect our lives in the last 100 years and a delicious recipe for Chicken Crumble.

Welcome William and perhaps you can tell us more about where you born and can you tell us something about the history of your place of birth or any interesting historical fact.

I was born in Atlanta, Ga., the home of the late Dr. Martin Luther King (Nobel Peace Prize, 1964); the Atlanta Braves (baseball, three world series championships); the Atlanta Falcons (football, NFC champions); CNN (founded in 1980); Coca-Cola (since 1944); the Centennial Olympic Park (1996 Summer Olympics); and the world’s busiest airport, “Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport.” Atlanta is called the “gateway” to the South, a “world city” ranking 36th among world cities and 8th in the USA. Atlanta played an important role in both the Civil War and the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. The Atlanta History Center chronicles the city’s past, and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site is dedicated to King’s life and times.

From an historical point of view, the “Battle of Atlanta” was fought on July 22, 1864. Union forces, commanded by General William T. Sherman, defeated the Confederate forces who were defending the city. This was a major turning point in the Civil War. Atlanta was totally destroyed, which destroyed the southern morale and sent them the last big blow. Sherman’s victory is credited for aiding the re-election of Abraham Lincoln, preserving the Union, and the abolishment of slavery. The battle was later dramatized and brought to popular attention through “Gone with the Wind.”

Atlanta is cosmopolitan in every sense of the word, from world-class restaurants and a myriad of cultural attractions to a hip night life and sporting events galore.

Which is your favourite leisure pastime?

Price - Mountain climbing
Without a doubt my favorite pastime is hiking in the mountains. This is an exhilarating and rewarding experience which allows me to commune with nature as well as testing my limits. There is nothing more gratifying than winding my way up the side of a mountain enjoying the beauty along the way, not to mention the satisfaction when I reach the summit. I get goose bumps when contemplating its majesty.

The changing colors from the clouds and snowy peaks are mesmerizing, as are the flora and fauna. Mountain climbing gives me inspiration and joy because it is more than a pastime or a sport, it’s a passion. It’s stress-free, and I always take the time to stop and contemplate the beauty around me. It is good for my heart, lungs, legs, ankles, feet, blood pressure, and peace of mind. Moreover, it helps me to connect with myself and with nature in a way that brings serenity and a sense of well-being.

What do you believe is the most important event to have affected our lives in the last 100 years?

That’s a pretty tough one because there are so many events that have happened on the world stage over the last 100 years which have had direct or indirect consequences on our lives. To name a few, we have survived major wars; stock markets have crashed and the economy has fallen flat on its face; we saw the fall of the Berlin wall; apartheid came to an end; and the Twin Towers came tumbling down. Now we’re engulfed in a war on terrorism which will, undoubtedly, have ramifications for years to come. There is an on-going refugee crisis, a crisis that is putting the European Union in grave danger of collapse.

For me, living in Europe, this crisis, caused by armed conflict and global warming, is probably the most important event of the last 100 years because it affects us now and there seems to be no end to it. The influx of refugees and the recent terror attacks in Paris have placed the E.U. system of passport-free travel under tremendous strain and if it were to collapse then this could be the beginning of the end of the European Union, which could have dire consequences. Of course, the rights of these voiceless people who have experienced hunger and indignity, and who have seen death with their own eyes, must be defended, too. We are all humans.

Perhaps the answer, if there is one, can be found in the Middle East because it will be impossible for Europe to provide sanctuary to everyone in need. In the meantime, our leaders must come up with long term solutions on how to bring about genuine peace through education and development and take serious action on climate change. Time is running out!

If you cook do you have a signature dish that everyone loves to eat? Can we have the recipe?
I learned how to cook when I was a student living in the dormitory on campus in New Haven, CT. I was lucky in that there were a lot of good cooks among students my age (I was 21 then). I watched how they prepared their meals, took notes, and tried to do the same thing more or less. Sometimes it worked, most times it didn’t, but It helped me to be patient in the kitchen and to learn the hard way.

When I finished school and went to New York I had a few culinary skills under my belt to keep me alive so I didn’t have to be a regular at McDonald’s. When I was dating my future wife in France, I was amazed at her cooking skills. Being “French,” believe me, she knew how to cook! Once married and with a family to raise, my wife did all of the cooking as she wanted to make sure our kids ate the right things, had enough vegetables, proteins, etc. I would do desserts, mostly American brownies, carrot cakes, pumpkin pies, and the like.

The kids finally grew up and left home, by then my wife had had more than enough of being in the kitchen cooking. So, I took over the reins of preparing meals and got promoted from desserts to full menus. I must say that I do enjoy cooking on a daily basis. Cooking a meal is one of the most personal and intimate things you can do for someone. You’re literally providing plated nourishment made with your own hands and creativity. I have found that cooking can be really relaxing, fun, and I love the challenge of preparing good food. Since I consider cooking to be an art, I always try to create something new – another way to express myself. I also love to explore new tastes and get a tremendous sense of satisfaction when I make a dish that rivals one in a good restaurant.

In our family and among our friends, my Chicken Crumble is well received and it’s one of my favorite dishes. It’s simple and filling.  (Also it looks like it would be very welcome after a day in the mountains. SC).

Nyika,Gene,MarionI must admit that I rarely stick to a recipe 100%, I always improvise. That probably comes from my being a jazz singer. Why not?

Chicken Crumble Recipe

6 chicken breasts
3 apples
2 medium size onions (you can always substitute with shallots)
2 garlic cloves
2 tea spoons of curry (or more depending upon how much you like curry, I always put more)
½ cup of raisins
3 table spoons of fresh cream
2 table spoons of olive oil

Crumble:
150 grams of oatmeal
120 grams of soft butter
90 grams of parmesan cheese

Method.

Peel and mince the onions. Cut the chicken breasts and pealed apples into cubes. Preheat the oven at 180°C.

Heat the olive oil in a wok or skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, stirring occasionally until they soften or are translucent. Add the cubes of chicken breasts and apples. Salt and pepper and let cook for about 10 minutes. Add the curry, cream, and raisins and stir gently. Rectify the seasoning, you can always add more curry, salt, and pepper if you like. Pour into an oven dish. Prepare the “crumble” by mixing the soft butter with the oatmeal flakes and the parmesan. Spread the mixture evenly over the meat and place it into the oven and let it cook for 20 minutes. Bon appétit!

That sounds delcious and a recipe I shall definitely be trying out.  My thanks to William for joining us today in a different capacity and I will leave you with another performance from one of his live gigs.. Lullaby of Birdland

Thanks for dropping by and please leave a note and feel free to share William’s Interview. We hope you will join us next Wednesday for the second part of the Natalie Cole Story.

A Man and his Music – William Price King meets Nat King Cole – The Finale.


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In part four of the series A Man and his Music with William Price King we relive the final years of the short life of Nat King Cole. Although Nat was only 45 when he died he had performed for over 30 years and had been a huge influence on the music of the time.

His influence was not restricted to the world of music as he gained the respect of Presidents and statesmen as he campaigned for racial equality in all walks of life.

William Price King picks up the story…………

Not only was Nat King Cole an iconic figure in music but he was particularly appreciated by the President of the United States in the 1960s. He was present at the Democratic National Convention in 1960 to throw his support behind Senator John F. Kennedy who won the presidential election against Richard Nixon. Cole was also among the dozens of entertainers recruited by Frank Sinatra to perform at the Kennedy Inaugural gala in 1961. Cole frequently consulted with President Kennedy (and later President Lyndon B. Johnson) on civil rights. As he was often the victim of blunt racism in the South in particular, and throughout the country in general, his support for integration and his fight against racism were highly appreciated by both presidents.

Two of his most famous quotes against racism are: “I am an American citizen and I feel I am entitled to the same rights as any other citizen.” And, “I may be helping to bring harmony between people through my music.”

Nat King Cole was an international figure on the world stage. He traveled extensively, doing highly successful concert tours of Latin America, Japan, the European Continent and England. In London, he performed at a Royal Command Performance for Queen Elizabeth II.

Nat was chosen by Paramount Pictures to play W.C. Handy in the movie about the composer’s life, “St. Louis Blues.” St. Louis Blues is a 1958 American film broadly based on the life of W.C. Handy. It also starred jazz and blues greats Pearl Bailey, Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald, and Eartha Kitt, as well as gospel singer Mahalia Jackson and actress Ruby Dee. In conjunction with the film, Cole recorded an album of W. C. Handy compositions arranged by Nelson Riddle, and Fitzgerald incorporated “St. Louis Blues” into her concert repertoire.

Nat King Cole with Barney Bigard, Teddy Buckner etc: W. C.Handy’s “Careless Love”


Nat King Cole’s last album, L-O-V-E was recorded in early December 1964—just a few days before he entered the hospital for cancer treatment—and was released just prior to his death. It peaked at #4 on the Billboard Albums chart in the spring of 1965. A “Best Of” album went gold in 1968.

Nat’s last recording session came on Dec. 3, 1964. “L-O-V-E” was one of the three songs Nat recorded that day, and he would pass away less than 3 months from the date of this session. Nat knew at the time of this recording that he was headed to the hospital.


His 1957 recording of “When I Fall In Love” reached #4 in the UK charts in 1987.

Cole was inducted into both the Alabama Music Hall of Fame and the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. In 1990, he was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 1997 was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame. In 2007, he was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.

Some famous quotes by Nat King Cole:

“I’m a musician at heart, I know I’m not really a singer. I couldn’t compete with real singers. But I sing because the public buys it.”

“If I could read it, I could play it.”

I’m an interpreter of stories. When I perform it’s like sitting down at my piano and telling fairy stories.”

And as a last treat
Here is William Price King with his wonderful version of “Don’t Get Around Much anymore”. The song is a jazz standard with music by Duke Ellington and lyrics by Bob Russell. The tune was originally called “Never No Lament” and was first recorded by Ellington in 1940 as a big-band instrumental. Russell’s lyrics and the new title were added in 1942.

Nat King Cole recorded this song on the “Just One Of Those Things” album in the summer of 1957. It was arranged and conducted by Billy May and produced by Lee Gillette for Capitol Records. The album was released in November 1957.

About William Price King

williampriceking

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 jazz album, ‘Home,’ is 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.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King
Download the new album. http://cdbaby.com/cd/williampriceking

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

You can find the other artists in the previous series here:

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king/

We hope you have enjoyed the series and please let us know as well as share the post with your networks.. Coming soon… Nat King Cole’s talented daughter.. Natalie Cole.

Thanks for dropping by.. Sally

A Man and his Music – William Price King meets Nat King Cole – Part Three


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We continue the story of the talented and charismatic Nat King Cole and we are now into the 50s and the rising popularity of television music shows. Here is William Price King to pick up the story…

In 1953 the trio signed a deal with Capitol Records. A first hit tune “I’m Lost” helped make enough money to launch the trio and the recording company, too. Revenues from Cole’s sales played a major role in financing the Capitol Records building, which was known as “The house that Nat built.” Uploaded by Neil Arnold

The Nat King Cole Trio had the honor of playing in the very first “Jazz at the Philharmonic concerts.” The line-up of: piano, guitar, and bass became very popular and was emulated by the likes of Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, and Ahmad Jamal, to name a few. When Nat Cole wasn’t playing with his own trio he played on sessions with Lester Young, Lionel Hampton and others, but always under the pseudonym of “Aye Guy.”

Cole’s first mainstream vocal hit was one of his own compositions –“Straighten up and fly right,” based on a black folk tale that his father used as a theme for a sermon. This recording sold over 500,000 copies. It is said that this song led the way for “rock and roll.” Uploaded by VampsRawkZH

Once again, understanding the power of radio, the trio financed their own 15 minute spot (usually paid for by Ads), called the “King Cole Trio Time.” This was a “first” for black artists. Recordings from these shows eventually became commercial records.

With success knocking at his door, Nat King Cole decided to widen his base and ultimately his popularity by doing pop-oriented songs for mainstream audiences. This was highlighted by his introducing a string orchestra into his recordings. With his luscious baritone voice he turned out hit after hit, cementing his iconic stature with “The Christmas Song,” which he recorded four times; as a pure trio, with an added string section (twice), and for a double album – The Nat King Cole Story. His hits are legion: Route 66, Nature Boy, Mona Lisa, Unforgettable, to name a few. Here is the wonderful “Mona Lisa” Uploaded by Live and Tell

In 1956 Nat King Cole went on to do TV with the Nat King Cole Show on NBC. It was a first by an African American and created lots of controversy. Unfortunately the show was taken off the air because of a lack of sponsorship, despite the appearances of such greats at the time like Ella Fitzgerald, Harry Belafonte, Mel Tormé, Peggy Lee, Eartha Kitt, and others. Cole quipped after the show was killed: “Madison Avenue is afraid of the dark.”

Here is William’s version of the very well loved (Get your kicks on) Route 66, which became popular as “Route 66”, and is a rhythm and blues standard composed in 1946 by songwriter Bobby Troup.

The idea for the song came to Troup on a cross-country drive from Pennsylvania to California. Troup wanted to try his hand as a Hollywood songwriter, so he and his wife, Cynthia, packed up their 1941 Buick and headed west. The trip began on Highway 40 and continued along Route 66 to the California coast. Troup initially considered writing a tune about Highway 40, but Cynthia suggested the title “Get Your Kicks on Route 66.” The song was composed on this ten-day journey.

The lyrics read as a mini-travelogue about the major stops along the route, listing several cities and towns that Route 66 passes through.

“Route 66” was first recorded in 1946 by Nat King Cole, whose rendition became a hit on both the U.S. R&B and pop charts. Cole would later re-record the tune in 1956 (on the album After Midnight) and in 1961 (on the album The Nat King Cole Story).

About William Price King

williampriceking

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 jazz album, ‘Home,’ is 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.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King

Download the new album. http://cdbaby.com/cd/williampriceking

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

You can find the other artists in the previous series here:

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king/

We hope you have enjoyed the series and please let us know as well as share the post with your networks.. thanks Sally

Next time we will move into the 60s with this iconic singer and the last few years of his life.

 

 

A Man and his Music – William Price King meets Nat King Cole – Part Two


In part one of the Nat King Cole tribute; we met the young Nat and followed his early career and today we will look at the next ten years and include some of the music which made this increasingly …

Source: A Man and his Music – William Price King meets Nat King Cole – Part Two

A Man and his Music – William Price King meets Nat King Cole – Part Two


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In part one of the Nat King Cole tribute; we met the young Nat and followed his early career and today we will look at the next ten years and include some of the music which made this increasingly popular young musician a phenomenon. Nat King Cole Part One.

William also looks at the other musicians that Nat partnered with in what was to become the very successful group of musicians the King Cole Trio.

The young Nat had attracted the attention of James Hubert Blake known in the business as Eubie Blake, a composer and lyricist who also was a master of the Jazz Piano and Ragtime. Eubie was responsible for many of the popular songs of the day such as Charleston Rag and Love will find a Way and after hearing Nat play, hired him on as the pianist for his ‘Shuffle Along’ revue which was on a national tour.

Here is Eubie Blake aged 98 playing Charleston Rag and proving that music is definitely good for you! Uploaded by Julio Pelossi

The tour of ‘Shuffle Along’ ended in Long Beach, California where Nat decided to stay and build on his career from there. For starters, he formed the group the “King Cole Swingsters.” Nat was on the piano, of course, Oscar Moore on the guitar, and Wesley Prince on the double bass.

Oscar Moore was an American swing jazz guitarist and his contribution to the trio was significant over the ten years 1937 to 1947 and he performed on the majority of the recordings from that period. Wesley Prince was a Jazz Bassist and apart from the King Cole Swingers he played with Lionel Hampton a percussionist, pianist and band leader who was ranked one of the best Jazz musicians of the time. Having these two experienced and talented musicians as part of the trio paved the way for the success of the group in the years before the Second World War.

Here is one of Nat King’s Cole early classics What Can I Say After I Say I’m Sorry Uploaded by Revolucionario1931

On a personal note, at the age of 17 Nat married Nadine Robinson. Very little is known about her and about their years together. Unfortunately this marriage came to an end in 1948 when he divorced and suddenly married Maria Hawkins Ellington (no relation to the Duke), but who sang with the Duke Ellington orchestra. This marriage yielded five children, among whom was Nathalie Cole who went on to become a super star long after her father’s death.  Here is one of the Trio’s hits If I had You – Uploaded by jazzysclassicjazz3

Back in California with the “King Cole Swingsters,” Nat understood the importance of radio, and in particular, live radio. The “King Cole Swingsters” became the King Cole Trio and their rise in popularity became evident after their first radio broadcast on NBC’s Blue in Network in 1938. From there they spiralled on to many more radio shows including the Orson Welles Almanac in 1944.

Nat Cole, early on, began singing between instrumentals. Noticing the audiences appreciated his vocal prowess, he happily added more songs, and created the rumour that one night a drunken man asked him to sing. He knew that rumours always worked well with the press and consequently the public. Here is another popular recording My Baby Just Cares For Me – Uploaded by cuzinkevin

Thanks to his popularity on the radio, Nat Cole was able to build a substantial audience and consequently get more and better paying gigs. When the war broke out (World War II) the bass player, Wesley Prince, left the trio and was replaced by Johnny Miller from Los Angeles. He would ultimately be replaced by Charlie Harris who had played with Lionel Hampton and Dizzy Gillespie and who can be heard on such recordings as Unforgettable and Mona Lisa.

To finish this post in the series I asked William to share one of his personal favourites from the Nat King Cole portfolio – also covered by Mel Torme.  Here is William Price King with My Funny Valentine.

About William Price King

williampriceking

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 jazz album, ‘Home,’ is 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.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King

Download the new album. http://cdbaby.com/cd/williampriceking

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

You can find the other artists in the previous series here:

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king/

We hope you have enjoyed the series and please let us know as well as share the post with your networks.. thanks Sally

 

 

A Man and his Music – William Price King meets Sir George Shearing – The Finale


We now move into the final part of the Sir George Shearing story and as well as some more of his legendary performances and collaborations it is also time to share the honours and tributes that he received from governments, fellow musicians and his fans.

Over to William Price King…

In May 1975, he received an honorary degree of Doctor of Music from Westminster College in Salt Lake City and the Horatio Alger Award for Distinguished Americans in 1978. Other honorary doctorates in music followed in 1994 from Hamilton College in upstate New York and DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana in 2002.

Here is an early version of Conception by the George Shearing Quintet.

His origins in the UK were not forgotten and in 1993 he was presented with the Ivor Novello Award for Lifetime Achievement. This was followed in 1996 by one of the top honours that can be bestowed on a British citizen when he was included in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. In the November of that year he was invested by her majesty at Buckingham Palace with an OBE (Order of the British Empire) for his services to music and Anglo-US relations.

Here is Mel Torme and George Shearing with A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square. Written in 1939 with lyrics by Eric Maschwitz and music by Manning Sherwin. Recorded in 1989.

In 1999, his 80th birthday was celebrated in England where he played to a sold-out house at the Birmingham Symphony Hall. Also appearing with him were the BBC Big Band, the strings of the London Symphony, Dame Cleo Laine and John Dankworth. BBC Radio 2 presented a 2 1/2-hour “Salute to Shearing” in honor of his birthday.

His US fans and musical collaborators were not to be outdone and the next year there was another sold-out birthday celebration at Carnegie Hall featuring the George Shearing Quintet with Nancy Wilson, Dave Brubeck, Dr. Billy Taylor, the John Pizzarelli Trio, and Tito Puente.

A reminder of the George Shearing Latin magic with Woodwinds and Brazilian Rhythm
Album:“George Shearing / Shearing Bossa NovaOne Note Samba

At age 85, George released his memoirs, Lullaby of Birdland, which was accompanied by a double-album “musical autobiography”, Lullabies of Birdland. This was immediately followed by two albums Hopeless Romantics with Michael Feinstein and the collectors set Mel Tormé & George Shearing The Concord Years.

41CC3cNdnwL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Another reminder of a great collaboration Nancy Wilson and the George Shearing Orchestra When Sunny Gets Blue…words & music by Jack Segal & Marvin Fisher, 1946.

Unfortunately, George suffered a fall and had to retire from regular performing. Although an American Citizen he and his wife returned to Britain most summers to their home in the Cotswolds and was able to indulge in one of his favourite pastimes, watching cricket.

In 2006 he received news that both delighted and surprised him. In a letter from the Prime Minister’s office he was notified that his name had been submitted to The Queen with a recommendation that Her Majesty confer George with a Knighthood.

When the letter was read to him, George simply said, “I don’t know why I’m getting this honor…..I’ve just been doing what I love to do.” And, when asked by the press how he felt about receiving the highest honor the Queen can give, he replied, “My mind keeps flashing back on my beginnings as pianist playing in a pub for the equivalent of $5.00 a week. What a journey it has been from that pub to Buckingham Palace. Receiving such an honor as a Knighthood might also show young people what can be achieved in life if one learns his craft and follows his dreams.”

Considering his own background as a blind child, the youngest of nine children whose father once delivered coal to Buckingham Palace; it was the culmination of a wonderful, successful and hard working life in music.

In June 13, 2007 George was presented to Queen Elizabeth II in the Ballroom of Buckingham Palace. He became Sir George Shearing “for his contribution to music”,

Here is another one of his spectacular collaborations with Peggy Lee singing Do I Love You written by Cole Porter.

Three presidents have invited Mr. Shearing to play at the White House. Ford, Carter and Reagan. He performed at the Royal Command Performance for Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. He is a member of the Friars Club and the Lotos Club in New York and the Bohemian Club in San Francisco.

And, the honours keep coming! Back in New York, on October 21, 2007, the Town Hall Foundation presented Sir George with its Annual Friend of the Arts Award “in recognition and appreciation of his abiding interest in the development, enrichment and support of the arts”. With this award also came a medal plaque, bearing Sir George’s name, being placed on the back of one the seats in the legendary Town Hall.

Sir George and his wife Ellie continued to travel between the UK and New York and it was here on February 14, 2011 at age 91, that he died of congestive heart failure with his family by his side.

Perhaps this is an appropriate track to end on.. Fly Me To The Moon the George Shearing Quintet with the legendary Nat King Cole. The song was written in 1954 by Bart Howard.

Links
Buy his music. http://www.amazon.com/George-Shearing/e/B000APYEA2

Additional material.
http://www.georgeshearing.net/bio.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Shearing

William Price King

cover of Home by William Price King

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. His album ‘Home’ is available to download and more details in the Buy Music for Christmas.

LINKS
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

You can find all of William’s posts in the following Directory including the previous posts on Sir George Shearing.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king/

Over the summer weeks I will be sharing the original series of the Nat King Cole and Mel Torme stories.. William Price King is busy with composing and will be back with a new series on the life of Quincy Jones in September.

Thank you for stopping by and of course do feel free to share and comment..

 

A Man and his Music – William Price King meets Sir George Shearing – The 60s.


Welcome to the new music slot on Wednesdays with William Price King and the Jazz greats. We are now into the 60s and William picks up with George Shearing as he moves into the decade where pop and rock were beginning to take over the charts.

George Shearing did well in the transition period in music when many less popular musicians and singers faded away. He was versatile and with several styles to offer his audiences, he spent the 60s building on his reputation and popularity. He never forgot his classical roots and he began to introduce this element back into his own concerts as well as performing as a soloist with larger orchestras. His quintet would often feature as well later in the performance giving George the best of both worlds.

Here is George Shearing, playing with Robert Farnon and his Orchestra – Our Waltz. From the album, How Beautiful Is Night.

There were 26 albums released in the 1960s most with Capitol records but also individual albums for other labels including George Shearing and the Montgomery Brothers for Jazzland. Also Jazz Moments with Blue Note in 1962, Smooth and Swinging for MGM also in 1962 and a live album for Request in 1966 that was not released until 2006 called Live Jazz from Club 15.

Here is No Hard Feelings from George Shearing and the Montgomery Brothers.

Apart from the classical and Jazz elements to his music and performances there was also another major facet to George Shearing’s music and that was the introduction of Afro-Cuban jazz in the 50s. Some of the Latin musicians of the 60s had been inspired by George’s pioneering work in this style and some of the artists that he worked with included Cal Tjader, Mongo Santamaria and Armando Paraza.

Here is an early recording of this style The George Shearing Quintet with Drume Negrita

In 1969 after a very lucrative partnership with Capitol Records which had included hit albums such as On The Sunny Side of the Strip, White Satin and collaborations with Nat King Cole, Nancy Wilson and Peggy Lee, George moved on and started his own label, Sheba, and released six albums between 1970 and 1973. He also began to phase out the Quintet working in trios or duos with his solo work with orchestras.

This move to his own label did lower his public profile to a degree without the marketing machine of a major label, but things began to change again when he signed with MPS Records which was a German jazz record label founded in 1968. MPS stands for “Musik Produktion Schwarzwald” (Music Production Black Forest). George recorded eleven albums with the label including The Reunion with Stephane Grappelli. Here is George Shearing with Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen on Bass and Irish jazz guitarist Louis Stewart with 500 Miles High from the MPS Trio Sessions

The 70s also were notable for an award received in May 1975, When George received an honorary degree of Doctor of Music from Westminster College in Salt Lake City.

George Shearing headed into the 80s signed to a new label Concord Jazz that was to prove to be a very popular and successful partnership with over 20 albums in the next 10 years.

Next week the 80s and two great artists join forces when Mel Torme and George Shearing hit the stage.

Links
Buy his music. http://www.amazon.com/George-Shearing/e/B000APYEA2

Additional material.
http://www.georgeshearing.net/bio.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Shearing

The Previous three episodes.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/06/20/a-man-and-his-music-william-price-king-meets-sir-george-shearing/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/06/27/william-price-king-and-man-and-his-music-meets-sir-george-shearing/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/07/04/a-man-and-his-music-william-price-king-meets-sir-george-shearing-collaborations/

William Price King – Jazz composer, musician and singer.

cover of Home by William Price King

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. His album ‘Home’ is available to download and more details in the Buy Music for Christmas.

LINKS
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

Please feel free to comment, share and reblog to spread the music.. thanks for dropping by.  William and Sally.