Hittin The Ramp: The Early Years 1936-1943 (10 Lp)
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Vinyl, 1 November 2019
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- Product Dimensions : 32.89 x 32.11 x 5 cm; 3.12 Kilograms
- Manufacturer : RESONANCE RECORDS
- Original Release Date : 2019
- Label : RESONANCE RECORDS
- ASIN : B07V9RPJL9
- Number of discs : 10
- Customer Reviews:
A rare, comprehensive collection of Nat King Cole's pre-Capitol recordings released in partnership with the Cole Estate. This deluxe 10LP boxed set includes never-before-issued recordings, some seeing their first commercial releases, with rarities culled from transcription tape reels and private collector copies. Includes 180 restored tracks with an extensive 60 plus page booklet including rare photos, essays by author Will Friedwald and guitarist Nick Rossi, plus interviews and statements.
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Many of the Standard and Keystone transcriptions were found on a 4CD-set on VJC in 1991 with Doug Pomeroy responsible for the transfers and he did a real fine job. The tracks with Lester Young sound better than all earlier reissues. An important session really!
So the engineers this time also deserve praise and there is so much more interesting items on this set than the earlier one so go on and order it right away.
The majority of these recordings cannot be found on other official releases. The audio quality is incredible, considering the period and the methods used to be recorded, also the medium on which they were found and recovered.
On this boxset you will find titles that were not played/sung by Nat King Cole/Nat King Cole Trio, considering that these were transcripts for air play or jukeboxes. Even tunes associated with Nat can be found here, but considerably different to the commercial versions.
If there were a 6-star grade, I would easily give it.
There were two big booms in Cole’s popularity in the past Japan. The first boom came when a Japanese Jazz magazine “Swing Journal” nominated as gold disc award for “The King Cole Trio : Vocal Classics” (Capitol, T591) and “The King Cole Trio : Instrumental Classics” (Capitol, T592) in the early 70s. The magazine spotlighted Cole’s no mean achievement as a piano player. Michael J. West wrote about Cole, though he credited Earl Hines as his greatest influence, was far more steeped in the blues, extended stride, doubling down on melody over obstinato. He was also an early adopter of the block chord, was among the first to write contrafacts, building new melodies on familiar chord changes. (JazzTimes, Dec.,’19) “Nat King Cole, Hittin’ The Ramp: The Early Years (1939-1943)” is a collection of his pre-Capitol years, mainly from transcription records. The sound quality is excellent. I really respect Resonance for their courteous work, as they always do. I like disc 6, in which you can enjoy Cole’s beautiful piano play on “Bedtime” and Oscar Moore’s excellent fingerings on “Fudge Wudge.” I can’t neither drop disc 3 & 4, where you’ll hear dream like a Cole’s celesta and Moore’s versatile guitar play. John McDonough writes in his disk review, the faddish slang of a revolt against schmaltz blinks like a neon sign, but Cole’s pianism illustrates the sublime intellect of a master virtuoso at the hight of his powers. (DownBeat, Dec.,’19) It’s a real disappointment that Moore didn’t make himself conspicuous after he walked away from the Cole trio, at the pinnacle of the trio’s success, and several years’ worth of critical and popular awards to his credit. According to Nick Rossi, he spent his final years in pursuing fishing skills and writing for fishing publications. What a loss! He might become a guitar giant as a successor of Charlie Christian.
The second boom came when Natalie Cole released “unforgettable,” a duet album with her dead father. Japanese Cole fan, realizing his crooner voice again, crowded around the record stores searching for reissue from Capitol. John McDonough’s article about Cole is instructive to understand why he could have left so many intimate, sexually implicit, love songs on Capitol records. (DownBeat, Sept.,’19) Cole met two key figures who could change his future, Carlos Gastel and Norman Granz, in the early 40s. Will Friedwald writes on the liner note of this set, “In the beginning of Granz’ career, the man most responsible for his success was, without question, Nat Cole.” Early documents of jam session conducted by Granz are included in this boxed set. While Granz being drafted, Cole shook hands with Gastel for his management. Cole signed with Capitol at the end of year 1943, and remained there until his death. Gastel pushed Cole onto a popular singer road. As late as the mid-’40s race protocols in America did not allow the black singer as an agent of romance. They were supposed to sing about work or blues and some dump crap. This is the reason why Cole’s trio repertoire is full of novelty tunes and jingles. Capitol was a new company and had no use for race line, they gave Cole complete promotional support. In transitioning at Capitol from jazz pianist to commercial pop singer, Cole accomplished what no performer of color had done. May be we have lost an incredible talent to become a great jazz pianist, however, history presented us an unforgettable popular singer.