Sunday, February 7, 2010
King Of Jazz
Breaking boundaries and always keeping true to himself, Nat King Cole did more than make a name for himself in the music industry with hit classics such as Unforgettable, L-O-V-E, Mona Lisa and Darling Je Vous Aime Beacoup.
It all began in the mid-1930's. While still a teenager, he changed his name to Nat Cole and, with his older brother Eddie, made his first jazz recording inspired by the playing of Earl Hines, Louis Armstrong and Jimmie Noone. The Cole's were regulars at numerous clubs and it was at one jazz club in particular where Nat Cole got the nickname King which is based on the otherwise unrelated nursery rhyme about Old King Cole.
In Long Beach, Cole and three other musicians formed the King Cole Swingers playing many local bars before landing a gig worth $90 ($1, 384 currently) at the Long Beach Pike.
Though Cole was a jazz pianist, he did sing in between instrumental numbers maintaining the deep baritone of his voice by smoking constantly. Sadly, it was this habit that led to lung cancer and on February 15, 1965 at the age of 46 Nat King Cole passed away leaving for us all music that truly is unforgettable.