Nathaniel Adams Cole was born in Montgomery, Alabama, but grew up in Chicago. In 1937, after touring with a Black musical revue, he began playing in jazz clubs in Los Angeles. There he formed the King Cole Trio, with guitarist Oscar Moore and bassist Wesley Prince, in 1939. With his compact, syncopated backup chords and clean, spare, melodic phrases, Cole emphasized the piano as a solo, rather than a rhythm, instrument in his jazz arrangements.
Commercial success came with his singing. After Straighten Up and Fly Right (1943), Cole gradually abandoned jazz piano for popular vocals. Among his other hits were Nature Boy, Mona Lisa, Too Young, and Unforgettable. Cole toured internationally and appeared in motion pictures. He first came to prominence as a jazz pianist but reached enormous popularity with his warm, relaxed, somewhat breathy-voiced ballad singing.
Jamie reminded villagers that he broke barriers with his television show in the 1950s.
He died February 15, 1965 in Santa Monica, California.
What is your favorite memory of Nat King Cole?