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Nat King Cole broke the pop barrier with his smoky, smooth vocals, stringing along a huge number of solid hits right after his first “Straighten Up and Fly Right” soared up the charts in 1943. As a singer, he was called “the best friend a song ever had,” but he was essentially a jazz performer at heart. Even those later tracks crafted for the pop charts belie a piano technique, vocal phrasings, and on-the-mark orchestration that are indebted to his early roots in jazz. RAMSEY LEWIS and JOHN PIZZARELLI have crafted a tribute to the titan of fifties vocal pop, from his hits along with those singular tracks of sophisticated cool jazz that have influenced their own careers.

 
This is a Rialto Series performance.


  

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