Nat King Cole: I Know That You Know


I Know That You Know


Nat 'King' Cole (piano, vocals)


The Complete After Midnight Sessions (Capitol 48328)

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Nat 'King' Cole (piano, vocals), Stuff Smith (violin), Lee Young (drums),

Charlie Harris (bass)


Recorded: Hollywood, CA, Sept. 24, 1956


Rating: 94/100 (learn more)

Although Cole was an influential jazz pianist, it was his vocals that ensured his popularity, and around 1950 he became essentially a pop balladeer who no longer accompanied himself on piano. However, two mid-'50's albums for Capitol, Piano Stylings and the much better-known After Midnight, reminded those who still cared of what they were missing. While the After Midnight tracks all featured a Cole vocal and a guest soloist, there's also enough Cole piano improvisation to whet one's appetite for more.

Cole's vibrant piano style, derived from Earl Hines and Teddy Wilson, and which in turn inspired Oscar Peterson, is particularly evident on the up-tempo "I Know That You Know." The piercing violin of Stuff Smith adds further impetus, as does the robust rhythm section. Young sets the frantic pace, Smith exchanges brief whirling passages with Cole's piano, and then Cole sings the lyrics in a relaxed and assured manner. Smith captivates in his solo, and Cole follows and more than holds his own, lucid and nimble with not a note wasted or out of place. He and the violinist resume their dialogue, showing great rapport and spirited invention before Young's boisterous drum break launches Cole's vocal reprise. A final buoyant Smith-Cole instrumental interaction seals the deal on this memorable track. Forget about "Nature Boy" and "Mona Lisa." This is Nat Cole the jazz singer-pianist.

Reviewer: Scott Albin

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