Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Music Column -William Price King – Summer Jazz – Roberta Flack The Finale

Welcome to the Summer Jazz Season where we revisit some of the amazing artists featured at the beginning of the music column back in 2015. William Price King will be taking a break from July 5th until September, but we don’t want you to miss out on the music.

This week is the last post in the Roberta Flack story with William Price King but it is definitely not the end of the story as this wonderful artist continues to perform occasionally.

William who has selected some of Roberta Flack’s quotes about life and music and we feature some of her live performances through the years of well loved songs.

‘Remember: Always walk in the light. And if you feel like you’re not walking in it, go find it. Love the light’

The first of the live performances is a track that was originally released on Roberta Flack’s ninth album Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway performed here with another favourite collaborator Peabo Bryson You Are My Heaven written by Stevie Wonder and Eric Mercury.

Having become established in the business and achieved recognition from fellow artists and also her legion of fans, Roberta Flack was able to take advantage of her increasing global fame. She moved into a new home in the famous Dakota apartment building in New York City which was also home to some of the biggest names in entertainment including Judy Garland and Leonard Bernstein.

This next live performance is Bridge Over Troubled Water written by Simon & Garfunkel for their 1970 studio album of the same name. The song won five awards at the 13th Annual Grammy Awards in 1971 and has been covered many times by the top names in the music business.

‘As musicians, and as people who sell material for people to hear and absorb, it’s important that we use that voice wisely’

Roberta found herself living next door to John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono. She said that on one occasion she heard him playing Imagine through the wall of the apartment. Although not in the building on the day of his murder in 1980 she later said this of their relationship.

I was very upset — and still am — by his untimely murder.”. “John and I were buddies. It was hard not to recognize him because he was so profound.”

She continues to live in the building to this day.

‘My hope is that out of all the anger and seeming hostility that we hear in some of today’s music will come some sort of coalition that will become politically involved’.

The song Oasis written by Marcus Miller and Mark Stephens was from Roberta’s 1982 solo album of newly recorded songs I’m The One.

The album releases in the 90s included Stop The World 1992, Roberta 1994 and The Christmas Album in 1997

Further acclaim for her music came in the form of recognition on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1999. The same year Roberta toured South Africa, performing for President Nelson Mandela.

1999 also saw the release of her album Friends: Roberta Flack sings Mariko Takahashi a Japanese singer/songwriter and musician.

In 2003 there was a second Christmas album titled Holiday

After a recording gap of 8 years Roberta paid tribute to John Lennon and the Beatles with her album Let It Be Roberta

Here is Roberta with an acoustic version of Let it Be written by Paul McCartney. It was released in 1970 and was the final single by The Beatles before Paul left the group.

‘So see every opportunity as golden, and keep your eyes on the prize – yours, not anybody else’s’.

And finally Why don’t You Move In With Me written by Gene McDaniels was from Roberta’s sixth album Blue Lights In The Basement released in late 1977. The album would reach No 8 in the Billboard 200 and No 5 in the R&B Albums chart.

‘One of the primary qualities of a good performance is honesty’.

Buy Roberta Flack’s music:

Additional sources

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

Connect with William

Regular Venue 

You can find all of the Music Column series in this directory:

and all the previous posts on jazz, classical and contemporary artists here:

Thank you for tuning in today and I hope you will join us again next Tuesday for the next series when we follow the career of Diana Krall –  Thanks Sally and William.




A Man and His Music – William Price King meets Natalie Cole – The Early Years

Welcome to the new series by William Price King and having enjoyed the wonderful artistry of her father Nat King Cole over the last few weeks, we are now going to be following the story and career of his daughter Natalie Cole who sadly died on New Year’s Eve 2015.

220px-76natalieAs an artist there can be nothing more daunting than following in the footsteps of a very famous and successful superstar. This was compounded by the fact that she lost her father, when he tragically died so young in 1965, leaving Natalie with a legacy to uphold as a teenager. Despite this, Natalie carved out a successful career for herself, very much sticking to her own music and producing albums that delighted her fans around the world.

Natalie Cole was born in February 1950 into the musical household headed by Nat King Cole and his jazz singer wife, Maria Cole. Their home in Los Angeles was at the heart of the music industry of the day and if having parents so heavily involved in the business was not enough; her uncle Freddy Cole was also an award winning singer and pianist. There were five children in the growing Cole family and they were raised in an environment that encouraged their natural musical abilities. Jazz, soul and blues artists would have also added their influences as the younger generation mingled with musicians and singers in those very heady years of the industry.

Her recording career began early when she performed a duet with her father on his Christmas Album at age 6 and by 11 years old, she was performing in the community regularly. This wonderful and nurturing environment was shattered with the death of Nat King Cole from cancer in 1965 when Natalie was only fifteen years old and the subsequent move away from Los Angeles to Massachusetts. Natalie attended the prestigious Northfield Mount Hermon High School and for a time her focus moved away from music to her academic studies.

Following high school, Natalie enrolled at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and studied Child psychology and German. She did transfer to the University of California for a short time but returned to Massachusetts to complete her bachelor’s degree in 1972.

Growing up Natalie had been exposed to music of every style from soul singer Aretha Franklin to blues-rock artist Janis Joplin. The pull of the music world was too great to ignore and after Natalie graduated from university she returned to performing in public. At first in small clubs with her band Black Magic, but if the patrons were expecting her to follow in her father’s musical footsteps, they were to be disappointed. Natalie focused on covering R&B and rock numbers and was clear that she did not want to capitalise on her father’s style and fame.. “I had to do my own songs in my own way,” she told “Rolling Stone” in 1977.

However, as luck would have it, when performing in The Pub in Amherst there were two music producers from Chicago in the audience; Chuck Jackson and Marvin Yancy. They saw great potential in Natalie and brought her to Chicago to the Curtis Mayfield studios to record some sessions.

They sent the demos out to various labels and received little encouragement until Capital Records; her father’s label agreed to sign her. Natalie, Chuck and Marvin headed to Los Angeles and spent studio time polishing the demos to compile Natalie Cole’s debut album Inseparable.

The album achieved gold status and charted at No 18 in the US Charts, No 1 in the US R&B, in the Top Ten of the Billboard Pop Album Chart and No 31 in Australia. Apart from one song of the ten tracks, they were all written by Chuck Jackson and Marvin Clancy. As well as the title track Inseparable, Natalie Cole also released This Will Be as a single and both reached No. 1 on the R&B chart. She also won ‘Best New Artist’ at the Grammy Awards.

Here is a life performance of It Will Be from 1975 uploaded by jondbee56

There were some references to Natalie’s similarity to Aretha Franklin’s style and performance that did neither performer justice and there was some talk of some rivalry between the two singers over the years. Certainly there would prove to be more than enough room in the charts for both singers in the 1970s.

In her personal life Natalie was also moving forward and in 1976 shortly after the release of Inseparable, she married her producer Marvin Yancy. They settled into their life together and as Marvin they welcomed a son, Robert Adam ‘Robbie’ Yancy, in 1977.

Natalie’s career was taking off and her second album Natalie went to gold and reached No 13 in the Billboard Top Albums chart and No 3 in the Top Soul Album charts. Two tracks stand out on the album and proved very popular. Sophisticated Lady and the more jazz themed Mr. Melody. Here is Sophisticated Lady written by Chuck Jackson, Marvin Yancy and Natalie Cole. Uploaded by rene cañez

This was followed up with Natalie’s third album Unpredictable which was her first to reach Platinum status. It was No. 8 in the Billboard top albums and No. 1 top soul albums. Two tracks were released in 1977 from the album, I’ve Got Love On My Mind which reached No1 in R&B chart, and Party Lights which also did well. The last track on the album became hugely popular at Natalie’s live concerts with her fans. Here is I’m Catching Hell uploaded by IloveArethaFranklin

In 1977 the label released Natalie’s fourth album and second to go Platinum. Thankful included the track Our Love which was to become another signature hit for the singer and Natalie Cole was the first female artist to have two platinum albums in one year. With her star rising in the industry it was not long before television beckoned and that year Natalie presented her own TV special showcasing other artists such as Earth, Wind and Fire. She also performed on other music shows including Sinatra and Friends.

In 1978 she released her first live album, Natalie Live which included the most popular tracks from previous albums that delighted her concert audiences in addition to new material such as Something’s Got An Hold On Me and the Lennon and McCartney hit Lucy In The Sky with Diamonds which was released as a single. The album reached gold status and did well reaching No 9 in the R&B chart.

Natalie finished off the decade with two more studio albums in 1979, I Love You So and We’re The Best Of Friends, a duet album with Peabo Bryson. Both did reasonably well in the charts and reached gold status and the two singles released from the latter album with Peabo Bryson, also charted at No 8 and 16 in the R&B ratings. Here is What You Won’t Do For Love uploaded by TT V-rus 1138

It had been an extraordinary decade for Natalie Cole as an artist and in 1979 she was awarded her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The path had not always been smooth and following on from some dabbling in recreational drugs whilst at college, Natalie struggled with her addiction to drugs and alcohol throughout the 70s, with some incidents that resulted in both her career and marriage spiralling out of control. Sadly by 1980 Natalie Cole was finding it very difficult to maintain a presence in the charts and next week we will cover the 80s and then the 90s when Natalie Cole began to come back from this difficult and destructive period in her life.

To end today’s post here is Natalie Cole with Don’t Mention My Heartache uploaded by

Buy Natalie Cole Music – .Amazon

About William Price King

Price King Eric Sempe

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.

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:

We hope you have enjoyed the series and please let us know as well as share the post with your networks. Please join us next week for part two of the Natalie Cole Story.

Thanks for dropping by.. Sally