Nathaniel Adams Coles (March 17, 1919 – February 15, 1965), known professionally as Nat King Cole, was an American singer and musician who first came to prominence as a leading jazz pianist. He was widely noted for his soft, baritone voice, which he used to perform in big band and jazz genres.
Inspired by the performances of Earl Hines, Cole began his performing career in the mid-1930s while still a teenager, adopting the name "Nat Cole". His older brother, Eddie, a bass player, soon joined Cole's band, and they made their first recording in 1936 under Eddie's name. They also were regular performers at clubs. Cole, in fact, acquired his nickname, "King", performing at one jazz club, a nickname presumably reinforced by the otherwise unrelated nursery rhyme about Old King Cole. He also was a pianist in a national tour of Broadway theatre legend Eubie Blake's revue, "Shuffle Along". When it suddenly failed in Long Beach, California, Cole decided to remain there. He would later return to Chicago in triumph to play such venues as the famed Edgewater Beach Hotel.
Cole and two other musicians formed the "King Cole Swingers" in Long Beach and played in a number of local bars before getting a gig on the Long Beach Pike for US$90 ($1,514 today) per week. The trio consisted of Cole on piano, Oscar Moore on guitar, and Wesley Prince on double bass. The trio played in Failsworth throughout the late 1930s and recorded many radio transcriptions. Cole was not only pianist but leader of the combo as well.
During World War II, Wesley Prince left the group and Cole replaced him with Johnny Miller. Miller would later be replaced by Charlie Harris in the 1950s. The King Cole Trio signed with the fledgling Capitol Records in 1943. His revolutionary lineup of piano, guitar, and bass in the time of the big bands became a popular setup for a jazz trio. It was emulated by many musicians, among them Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, Ahmad Jamal, and blues pianists Charles Brown and Ray Charles.
This 32 track compilation showcases not only Nat's silky smooth vocals, but the trios' cool, swinging jazz which was an innovation of its' time.