Artist: Nat King Cole
Title: After Midnight
Genre: Jazz
Release Date: 1957
Quality: High-Fidelity DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz
Label: Analogue Productions

This 1957 release from Nat King Cole peaked at number 13 on US album charts and marks the last album Cole recorded with jazz flavour. Despite being billed as a trio recording, Cole is joined on these sessions by musicians including Harry “Sweets” Edison on trumpet and other guests contributing sax, violin, trombone and even bongos.

In this felicitous blending of Nat “King” Cole’s supreme talents as jazz pianist and vocalist with small combos featuring fellow jazz alumni, classic pop and jazz met in a wildly successful brew. A combination of new and familiar songs are featured, including fresh recordings of classic hits like “Route 66”. Musicians include Harry “Sweets” Edison, Juan Tizol, Lee Young, Stuff Smith and Willie Smith augmenting his famous Trio. In addition to the full original album, five additional tracks and two alternates take from the original sessions are included in this release. Mellow, classy, focused and vibrant, After Midnight was a hit and an instant classic upon its release in 1957 and remains a gem to treasure today.

Once Nat King Cole gave up playing piano on a regular basis and instead focused on a series of easy listening vocal albums, jazz fans longed for him to return to his first love. These 1956 studio sessions made up Cole’s last jazz-oriented disc, where he played piano and sang on every number, joined by several guest soloists. Cole’s vocals are impeccable and swinging, while his piano alternates between providing subdued backgrounds and light solos that don’t reveal his true potential on the instrument. Willie Smith’s smooth alto sax buoys the singer in the brisk take of “Just You, Just Me.” Harry “Sweets” Edison’s muted trumpet complements the leader in his interpretation of “Sweet Lorraine.” Composer Juan Tizol’s valve trombone and former Cole sideman Jack Costanzo’s bongos add just the right touch to the brisk take of “Caravan.” Stuff Smith’s humorous, unusually understated violin is a nice touch in “When I Grow Too Old to Dream.” It’s hard for any Nat King Cole fan to ignore these important sessions


01 – Just You, Just Me
02 – Sweet Lorraine
03 – Sometimes I’m Happy
04 – Caravan
05 – It’s Only A Paper Moon
06 – You’re Looking At Me
07 – Lonely One
08 – Don’t Let It Go To Your Head
09 – I Know That You Know
10 – Blame It On My Youth
11 – When I Grow Too Old To Dream
12 – (Get Your Kicks On) Route 66
13 – I Was A Little Too Lonely (And You Were A Little Too Late)
14 – You Can Depend On Me
15 – What Is There To Say
16 – Two Loves Have I
18 – Just You, Just Me (Take One)
19 – It’s Only A Paper Moon (Take One Breakdown)