There’s much more to Nat King Cole than you know. Nat was surely a smooth singer and a gentle swinger. But he was also a consummate jazz piano player who recorded secretly as a sideman for Keynote and Mercury – using amusing pseudonyms – even as he rose to fame recording hit after hit for Capitol Records. Riffin’: The Decca, JATP, Keynote and Mercury Recordings, a 3-CD box set on Hip-oSelect.com’s Verve Select imprint, features Nat backing his many friends in the 1940s, as well as his original King Cole Trio singles on Decca – a total of 53 tracks significantly restored and remastered, and housed in a beautiful 7 3/8” square box set with a 30-page book stuffed with rare photos, a brilliant essay by David Ritz, detailed session notes and reproductions of the original releases’ artwork, from 78 RPM labels to 10-inch LP covers and much more.
This collection of musical Christmas cheer is packed full of the smoothly sung, sentimental favorites associated as much with Nat King Cole himself as with the season. The singer's performance of "The Christmas Song" is an unforgettable classic. Other traditional religious favorites like "I Saw Three Ships" and "Away in a Manger" are also featured, in a setting that, with its well-arranged orchestral accompaniment, manages to sound both sophisticated and folksy.