Much as I like to rely on my own archives to offer those unique and historic recordings on Past Daily, I run across something from someplace else that stops me in my tracks. This historic pairing of Nat “King” Cole and Quincy Jones is from 2 concerts the pair did in Paris in April of 1960. It’s been issued on a private label in France and is even available via Amazon. But I heard this particular version the other day via Radio France and their FIP channel, which is eclectic, beyond interesting, and best of all, streams 24 hours a day. If you don’t already have them firmly in your bookmarks, do it today (http://www.fipradio.fr). My only regret is that radio isn’t like that here. And so what if you don’t speak the language – Music is universal. And it’s one of the few places you can hear this concert and a concert by PJ Harvey all in the same place. That’s one of the big joys of listening to radio overseas – you are constantly exposed to an embarrassment of riches and it comes from everywhere.
Okay – all that said; Here is that concert, part of a European tour Cole and Jones embarked on as a way of reaffirming Cole’s European audiences with his Jazz roots. From the early 1950s on, Nat King Cole had recorded several songs which became enormous hits for him in the Pop field. Subsequently, many of his loyal fans going back to the 1940s were dismayed at this new turn in direction for him, and many felt he had abandoned his roots. By 1960 he was well established as a Pop Music singer, and had all but stopped recording Jazz and it seemed to confirm to his core fans that their worst fears were realized.
So Norman Granz came up with the idea of pairing Cole with Quincy Jones, who had a solid and long-lasting place as one of the innovators and pioneers in Jazz of the later 20th century. As band leader, arranger and writer, Jones had worked with a vast array of talent and a collaboration between Cole and Jones seemed to fit as comfortably as a glove.
Many albums have come out featuring these concerts, which were performed at various venues around Europe in 1960. This one didn’t surface until relatively recently and its one of the highlights of a very successful tour.
The French announcer pops in at two points between songs, but it doesn’t disturb the vibe (unlike a lot of live Italian concerts which are replete with chattiness from start to finish).
This one’s a keeper.