Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Moonlight in Vermont

Nat King Cole Trio

Early in his career, Nat King Cole formed a ground breaking trio in 1937, playing piano with Oscar Moore on guitar and Wesley Prince on bass (no drums!). Prior to that, Nat was known primarily as a jazz pianist – not a singer. But with the King Cole Trio (as it was known) he played a mixture of novelty songs, jazz and pop tunes, often with unison singing from all three members, as well as his own lead vocals.

When Prince was drafted into the Army, Johnny Miller took over on bass in 1942, but by this time, Nat's singing was more prominent in their performances. The trio kept going until Nat's career really took off as a ballad singer, backed mainly by orchestras. By that point, Nat was not playing much piano, which was a pity, since he was a brilliant and influential jazz pianist.

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