Tuesday, May 3, 2011

When I Fall In Love: The One And Only Nat King Cole - DVD

When I Fall In Love: The One And Only Nat King Cole - DVD
Antonio G. Pereira © 2011 Antonio G. Pereira

The Nat King Cole Show was a Musical Variety Program that aired on primetime television from 1956 to 1957. Hosted by Nat King Cole, and featuring a wealth of talented artists from the era, the best of the shows that could be restored, are preserved on the DVD, When I Fall In Love: The One And Only Nat King Cole (Eagle Rock Entertainment Home Video). The story of why this marvelous quality program did not survive in 1950s America, is told in detail by members of Nat's family, his brother Freddy, wife Maria, daughters Natalie, Casey and Timolin, and his producer, director and collaborator on the show, Bob Henry. The performances of the artists who were guests on this show are in their entirety, and they are just wonderful to see and hear. Among the standouts are Nat himself, singing a gorgeous rendition of the title song, 'When I Fall In Love, It Will Be Forever', with equally exquisite versions of, 'I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face', and 'Mona Lisa'. (Who can ever forget The Miles Davis Quintet's version of 'When I Fall In Love': http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sluzRhnr-4Q  or Wes Montgomery live at Tsubo coffee.house in San Francisco, with a deeply moving version of, 'I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face': http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZ9RD4FkRgA   )
Nat Cole's effortless and extraordinary talents as a pianist are also clearly showcased in, 'Just You Just Me', 'Caravan' and 'Crazy Rhythm'. Then there are more incredible performances of Nat singing and backed by The Oscar Peterson Trio (Oscar, Herb Ellis and Ray Brown), introduced by Norman Granz, (creator of Jazz At The Philharmonic), as they swing on 'Sweet Lorraine'; with Coleman Hawkins sitting in on saxophone, playing so cool and smooth. And during 'Tenderly', Nat Cole delivers a delicate and sweet reading, with the trio matching him on every nuance and shading. There's also a powerhouse 'Opus One', of Nat with The Mills Brothers, that leaves you rooting for more, a hysterical, 'Somewhere Along The Way' with Sammy Davis Jr.; Sammy and Nat imitating each others voices, and a lovely rocking duet of, 'Too Close For Comfort' with Ella Fitzgerald. At the time of his appearance on the Nat King Cole Show, Billy Preston (then a young child prodigy on keyboards) was making the film, 'St. Louis Blues' with Nat. 'St Louis Blues', was a movie about the life of American Composer W.C. Handy; with Billy portraying him as a child, and Nat as a grown man. (In the following decade of the 1960s, Billy would go on to record W.C. Handy's song, 'Morning Star', on his first album for Apple Records, 'That's The Way God Planned It'; produced by George Harrison. This version, with Billy singing and playing piano, accompanied by a full orchestra with strings, is magnificent). On the show, Billy does quite a performance of Fats Domino's then current hit, 'Blueberry Hill' with Nat King Cole; both of them sharing vocals and keyboard duty. And there is the very funny duet of Nat at the piano with singer/songwriter Johnny Mercer, doing Mercer's song,'Save The Bones For Henry Jones'. And finally, Nat Cole singing Mel Torme's 'Christmas Song'; a song which he made his own, for all time. Narration throughout is by the wonderful actor Dennis Haysbert. Talk about value for money! This is worth every cent. You'll treasure this for many years to come.


TheSouloftheVoice said...

Antonio, this is one of my most cherished DVD's...Nat is a gentleman of effortlessness, a genius. I love hearing commentary from his daughter Natalie, seeing Eartha & Ella interact with the "King," Billy Preston as a boy "work out" with Nat, and as you say the inimitable Sir Cole in full balladeer concentration. Thank you for featuring this gem, bless your own class!
--Robert-Allan Arno,

poisgone said...