Nicki Parrott plays bass and sings Nat King Cole's songbook with the help of fellow jazzmates John Di Martino on piano, Frank Vignola on guitar and Lisa Parrott on saxophone and clarinet. Born in Newcastle, Australia, Nicki started her musical training at age four with the piano, followed by the flute, soon after. Nicki switched to double bass at the age of 15. After graduating high school she moved to Sydney to study jazz at the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music where she began to play with Australian musicians such as Mike Nock, Dale Barlow, Paul Grabowsky, Bernie McGann, and Ten Part Invention. She also toured Australia with Russian musicians Daniel Kramer and Alexander Fischer and American trumpeters Bobby Shew and Chuck Findley. She continued her studies with various bassists including visiting artists Ray Brown and John Clayton.
Pianist/vocalist Diana Krall pays tribute to the Nat King Cole Trio on her Impulse! set. In general, the medium and up-tempo tunes work best, particularly such hot ditties as "I'm an Errand Girl for Rhythm," "Frim Fram Sauce," and "Hit That Jive Jack." Krall does not attempt to directly copy Cole much (either pianistically or vocally), although his influence is obviously felt on some of the songs. The slow ballads are actually as reminiscent of Shirley Horn as Cole, particularly the somber "I'm Through With Love" and "If I Had You." Guitarist Russell Malone gets some solo space on many of the songs and joins in on the group vocal of "Hit That Jive Jack," although it is surprising that he had no other opportunities to interact vocally with Krall; a duet could have been delightful. Bassist Paul Keller is fine in support, pianist Benny Green backs Krall's vocal on "If I Had You," and percussionist Steve Kroon is added on one song. Overall, this is a tasteful effort that succeeds.
Capitol Records took This Is Sinatra!, a compilation album, into the Top Ten in early 1957, which probably prompted the label to assemble a similar collection, This Is Nat "King" Cole, later in the year. Consisting of tracks not previously issued on a Cole LP, the disc contains seven recent Billboard singles chart entries among its 12 selections – "Too Young to Go Steady" (which reached number 21), "Forgive My Heart" (13), "Nothing Ever Changes My Love for You" (72), "To the Ends of the Earth" (25), "I'm Gonna Laugh You Right Out of My Life" (57), "Someone You Love" (13), and "Never Let Me Go" (79) – while an eighth song, "That's All," was the B-side of the 1953 Top 20 hit "Lover, Come Back to Me!" "Too Young to Go Steady," which peaked in April 1956, turned out to be all that was really heard of a stage musical intended for Broadway, Strip for Action, with songs by Jimmy McHugh and Harold Adamson, which closed out of town. "I Just Found Out About Love" and "Love Me as Though There Were No Tomorrow," two more songs from that ill-fated show, are among the previously unheard tracks unearthed for this compilation.
Nat King Cole possessed one of the most accessible and appealing voices of any singer in the 1950s. This ballad-oriented set puts the emphasis completely on his voice (there is no piano playing or any hint of his jazz-oriented past) and features Cole accompanied by Gordon Jenkins' sweet arrangements for a string orchestra…