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Nat King Cole
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March 17, 1919 - February 15, 1965
The "King Cole Trio" perform "Nature Boy" during the late 1940s.
Nat King Cole, piano
Irving Ashby, guitar
Johnny Miller, bass
Nathaniel Coles first entered the spotlight during the late 1930s as Nat Cole.
His "King Cole Trio" he became a mainstay of popular jazz, with his powerful baritone voice and piano baring the influenced of Earl "Fatha" Hines.
After the theater production of Eubie Blake's "Shuffle Along" he was touring with went bust in Long Beach, California Nat decided to remain.
There the Chicago native formed a combo the "King Cole Swingers" with two other musicians and found employment before eventually returning to his hometown.
Nat scored his first mainstream hit in 1943 with the original composition, "Straighten Up and Fly Right."
In 1946 Cole and his trio began their own fifteen minute radio show, "King Cole Trio Time" the first program of it's kind sponsored by a black artist.
His years as a pure jazz performer were fleeting and soon commercialism won (at least in part) when he crossed over to play popular songs many of which were of his own composition.
This should not be held against his artistry, Nat King Cole was one of the few not affected negatively by pop, in fact it helped him reach a wider audience and create some of the great songs of our time.
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