ghost of miles

Resonance to release pre-Capitol Nat King Cole box set

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1 hour ago, ghost of miles said:

but I'll definitely be picking it up

Same here. I already own different Resonance sets and am very satisfied with them. They're on a par with Mosaic, with good booklets, good notes and overall concepts. Plus the high quality of annotators and collaborators.

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3 minutes ago, Bluesnik said:

Same here. I already own different Resonance sets and am very satisfied with them. They're on a par with Mosaic, with good booklets, good notes and overall concepts. Plus the high quality of annotators and collaborators.

Agreed, and happy that Will Friedwald will be doing the notes for this new set.  I thought he did a great job with both the Mosaic Capitol box and the two Cole Bear Family sets.

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Whenever I've come across pre-Capital Cole I've never found much that was strictly instrumental.  Anyone know if this package will be mainly vocal? 

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Here's a press release that just went out, offering a little more detail about the set:

RESONANCE RECORDS RELEASES FIRST COMPREHENSIVE BOX OF EARLY NAT KING COLE RECORDINGS ON
NOVEMBER 1, 2019

Hittin’ the Ramp: The Early Years (1936-1943) Compiles Nearly 200 
Pre-Capitol Records Tracks by the Great Singer-Pianist

Deluxe Seven-CD/10-LP Package is First Comprehensive Collection 
of Cole’s Early Years Produced in Partnership with the Cole Estate

Includes Extensive Booklet with Interviews and Statements by Johnny Mathis, Tony Bennett, Quincy Jones, Harry Belafonte,
Freddy Cole and Others!

 

Resonance Records, the Los Angeles-based independent jazz label noted for its historical releases, will issue its most ambitious release to date, the seven-CD/10-LP Nat King Cole boxed set Hittin’ the Ramp: The Early Years (1936-1943) on November 1, 2019. 

Succeeding critically acclaimed Resonance archival collections devoted to previously unheard recordings by Bill Evans, Wes Montgomery, Sarah Vaughan, and other eminent jazz performers, Hittin’ the Ramp offers the first in-depth survey of singer-pianist Cole’s work in the years preceding his long hit-making tenure at Capitol Records.

“This is a really important project for Resonance,” says Zev Feldman, label co-president and the set’s co-producer. “We've done some pretty substantial packages over the years, such as our three-disc Eric Dolphy and Jaco Pastorius sets with 100-page booklets, but this Nat King Cole box is truly a definitive, king-sized set, clocking in at a staggering 10 LPs and seven CDs worth of essential early Cole material with enhanced audio.” 

The limited-edition 180-gram ten-LP set was mastered by Matt Lutthans at Cohearant Audio with impeccable sound restoration by Lutthans and Doug Pomeroy. The vinyl will be pressed at esteemed audiophile record manufacturer RTI (Record Technology Inc.) at 33 1/3 rpm. 

The set’s co-producer, writer and historian Will Friedwald – who received Grammy Award nominations for his work on Mosaic Records’ landmark 1992 box The Complete Capitol Recordings of the Nat King Cole Trio and the 1989 album Nat “King” Cole and the “King” Cole Trio – points out in his comprehensive notes to the collection that Cole’s deep and influential jazz roots were often obscured by his towering reputation as a pop singer.

“At the height of his fame in the 1950s and ‘60s,” he writes, “Nat King Cole (1919-1965) was primarily known as a popular singer — the biggest-selling artist of his generation, no less — who occasionally played piano. By that point, only a few older fans and critics remembered that he had been one of the greatest pianists in the whole history of American music, a true spiritual descendent of Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines and Art Tatum, and himself a huge inspiration for Oscar Peterson, George Shearing, Erroll Garner, and many others.”

Beyond Cole’s brilliance at the keyboard, the Resonance set takes in his dazzling work as a vocalist, and includes a new interview with the master pop singer Johnny Mathis, who discusses his debt to and friendship with his great predecessor.

“As a young boy, studying the art of vocalizing, Nat was everything I needed,” Mathis says. “All I did was listen and learn…And then I want [people] to remember that he also, also, also played the piano. Please, please, please remember that. Even as gigantic as a pianist as he was as a vocalist.”

Co-produced by Zev Feldman, Will Friedwald, Seth Berg, Matt Lutthans, and Jordan Taylor, and executive produced by Resonance co-president George Klabin, Hittin’ the Ramp homes in on Cole’s prodigious early career, beginning with the debut sides he recorded with his brother Eddie for Decca Records as a 17-year-old piano phenom in 1936.

The majority of the set’s nearly 200 tracks focus on the first work by the King Cole Trio, the seminal combo that put Cole on the map with a swinging combination of jazz, jive, and pop, with an emphasis on his simpatico creative partnership with the trio’s longtime guitarist Oscar Moore.

In his notes for the collection, guitarist Nick Rossi notes that Moore’s synthesis of such influences as George van Eps, Dick McDonough, Django Reinhardt, and Charlie Christian led to his “groundbreaking style, one which provided a template for how the guitar functions in a modern jazz setting.”

Hittin’ the Ramp compiles Cole’s recordings – among them the first versions of “Sweet Lorraine,” a staple of his ‘40s repertoire, and the R&B and pop hit “Straighten Up and Fly Right” – with his trio and in other studio settings (as sideman and accompanist) for Decca, Ammor, Excelsior, Premier, Mercury, and Philo (including a celebrated session for the latter label, founded by Norman Granz during the 1942 Musicians Union recording ban, with saxophonist Lester Young).

The newly discovered selections include several performances that were not known to exist before research for the boxed set began. These include a privately recorded number, “The Romany Room is Jumping,” a homage to the titular Washington, D.C., club that hosted Cole’s group; the hitherto unheard Cinematone transcription “Trompin’”; and an unreleased 1940 trio rendering of Trummy Young’s “Whatcha’ Know Joe.”

“Although nothing on this package can be described as ‘common,’ these are some of the rarest Cole items known to exist,” Friedwald writes.

He adds, “Just in time for his centennial, we cover this quintessential American artist from his very first stirrings at the start of the swing era to the very precipice of universal fame during World War Two, with dozens of fascinating detours along the way. This, then, is the incredible but true origin story of a sound and a career that would change the world.”

Here is Nat King Cole, just as he was hittin' the ramp.

 

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I can’t seeing buying a set that contains 7 CDs worth of his music. I’m just not that much of a fan of NKC. Perhaps if they eventually do one of their best of CDs, I’d go for that. However, to those who are big fans, I’m sure you will be very happy. 

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Posted (edited)

 "...as well as wartime recordings produced for American servicemen by the Armed Forces Radio Service."

This is the part that got my attention.  This would include that great AFRS Jubilee segment wherein Benny Carter, Willie Smith, and Charlie Parker each do a number with the Nat King Cole trio.  There are also recordings with Lester Young and, I believe, Coleman Hawkins.  It would be great to have these gathered together in a coherent package.

 

 

 

Edited by Jim Duckworth

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3 hours ago, medjuck said:

Whenever I've come across pre-Capital Cole I've never found much that was strictly instrumental.  Anyone know if this package will be mainly vocal? 

As a point of comparison, the 4-CD JSP box Radio Sessions from the Early Years 1938-43 only contains 20 instrumentals. 

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Verve did this in 2010:

81LFL%2B7MJOL._SL1477_.jpg

in light of the warehouse fire, is it possible that this set had access to - and used - the actual master recordings (which would be not be tape, correct?)?

Apart from that, is the Resonance set going to completely cover this Verve set, or will the JATP items not be included? I see mention of the Asch label, so that's probably JATP, but one never knows...

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1 hour ago, JSngry said:

Verve did this in 2010:

81LFL%2B7MJOL._SL1477_.jpg

in light of the warehouse fire, is it possible that this set had access to - and used - the actual master recordings (which would be not be tape, correct?)?

Apart from that, is the Resonance set going to completely cover this Verve set, or will the JATP items not be included? I see mention of the Asch label, so that's probably JATP, but one never knows...

The material from the Riffin' set that will also appear in the Resonance box are the Decca sides and the session with Dexter Gordon. Everything else -- JATP, 1946 Lester session, Keynoters session -- will be omitted. The idea of the Resonance box is to cover Cole's trajectory right up until his very first session with Capitol in November 1943. 

17 hours ago, medjuck said:

Whenever I've come across pre-Capital Cole I've never found much that was strictly instrumental.  Anyone know if this package will be mainly vocal? 

Unofficially, I count about 52 instrumental sides altogether, roughly 30% of the set. 

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Thanks for that info j.

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Regarding the Decca material, will Resonance have access to the same source materials that Verve did, and if so, will they use them?

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I am no early NKC discography expert but I find the info by Resonance a bit vague on what exactly in what QUANTITIES came from which labels. or to put it another way - if the early years up to 1943 are covered, will this include the transcriptions too? Of which there were MANY, and they have been out and around in variuos guises over time (the 6 CDs on Naxos alone include 120 tracks up to 1943 (mostly for the Standard Transcription Service, but also for Davis & Schwegler and Keystone).

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Well, Resonance mentions transcription sides, and to be honest I think an additional 80 tracks would be sufficient for the other material. We'll see I guess. I'm in. . . I'd love to have all this in one place.

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3 hours ago, jtaylor said:

The material from the Riffin' set that will also appear in the Resonance box are the Decca sides and the session with Dexter Gordon. Everything else -- JATP, 1946 Lester session, Keynoters session -- will be omitted. The idea of the Resonance box is to cover Cole's trajectory right up until his very first session with Capitol in November 1943. 

Unofficially, I count about 52 instrumental sides altogether, roughly 30% of the set. 

JTaylor, are you involved at all with this set? Once it comes out, I think the only stretch of NKC’s career lacking a “complete” treatment will be the late 1940s through 1954 Capitol stretch, as we’ve discussed before (since Bear Family covered 1955 to 1964 and the Mosaic Capitol set omits recordings in which the trio plays no role).

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28 minutes ago, jazzbo said:

Well, Resonance mentions transcription sides, and to be honest I think an additional 80 tracks would be sufficient for the other material.

Just re-read the above press blurb again, the transcription reference must have been well hidden. As for the "additional" 80 tracks, the 20 or so Deccas have been around often enough too, so the recordings for the indies in a comprehensive reissue seem to be the major point of attraction. And of course the fact that "those who thus desire" ;) can get it all in one place.

For the occasion, going to spin the "Nat King cole meets the Master Saxes" Spotlite SPJ136 LP now. ^_^

 

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only oddity is in the recent NY Times article, which describes Cole as sounding like a 'stride pianist' in these years, which is crazy. Plenty of Earl Hines in his playing, yes, but that's a different thing altogether.

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4 hours ago, ghost of miles said:

JTaylor, are you involved at all with this set? Once it comes out, I think the only stretch of NKC’s career lacking a “complete” treatment will be the late 1940s through 1954 Capitol stretch, as we’ve discussed before (since Bear Family covered 1955 to 1964 and the Mosaic Capitol set omits recordings in which the trio plays no role).

Yes, I had a hand in it, along with several others. 

4 hours ago, Big Beat Steve said:

I am no early NKC discography expert but I find the info by Resonance a bit vague on what exactly in what QUANTITIES came from which labels. or to put it another way - if the early years up to 1943 are covered, will this include the transcriptions too? Of which there were MANY, and they have been out and around in variuos guises over time (the 6 CDs on Naxos alone include 120 tracks up to 1943 (mostly for the Standard Transcription Service, but also for Davis & Schwegler and Keystone).

This set collects every known--and a few that have never been documented--transcription that Cole recorded prior to his start at Capitol. It cobbles together everything for Standard, D&S, Keystone, and even one session for MacGregor in 1941 (the trio recorded a bunch for MacGregor in 44-45, but that is not covered here). Obviously, much of this material has come out over the years, but this is the first time that I know of that it has all been presented together, along with several studio/commercial recordings.

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Certainly seems like a worthwhile - and necessary project!

What will be the source for the Decca material?

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Once upon a time I thought multiple discs of Nat King Cole was overkill.  Then I got the Mosaic Set at a decent price.  Just pre-ordered the new Resonance LP set, and quite happy to do so.

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I've long enjoyed Nat King Cole and this set will be a nice addition to my collection. Maybe I'll be able to part with some of the earlier LPs and CDs that end up in this anthology.

 

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Call me crazy, but is it too much to ask of Resonance that they provide at least a  tracklist for a box they want me to pay $99 for?

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35 minutes ago, Captain Howdy said:

Call me crazy, but is it too much to ask of Resonance that they provide at least a  tracklist for a box they want me to pay $99 for?

Is it too much to ask you to go the Resonance website to read the track list?

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