A Sentimental Christmas with Nat “King” Cole and Friends: Cole Classics Reimagined is out today from Capitol Records.
A unique holiday album that weaves Nat’s distinctive, beautifully restored vocals with new arrangements and contemporary artists, the collection features virtual duets of holiday classics with Kristin Chenoweth, Gloria Estefan, John Legend, Johnny Mathis, and Calum Scott; a full tracklist is below. Based on archival photos of Nat, watch/share hand-drawn visualizers for each of the album’s tracks here.
Co-produced by Jay Landers (Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, Barry Gibb) and GRAMMY® Award winner and Oscar nominee Jorge Calandrelli (Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga), who also arranged and conducted, the album’s material was sourced from Cole’s timeless album, “The Christmas Song,” and other recordings from his esteemed catalog. The album was co-produced, mixed, and mastered by multi-GRAMMY-winning engineer and mixer Dave Reitzas (Natalie Cole, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion). Reitzas was responsible for mixing the historic Grammy®-winning virtual duet, “Unforgettable,” by Natalie and Nat King Cole.
The album is available on CD, vinyl, and all digital formats with an exclusive Rudolph Red vinyl available at Walmart; listen/buy here.
Born in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1919, Nathaniel Adams Coles was one of four sons of the First Baptist Church’s pastor Edward Coles. Nat’s mother, Perlina Coles, a choir director at the church, taught him piano at four. In 1921, the family moved to Chicago, seeking a better life in the prospering towns of the north. Nat became obsessed with the inescapable sound of Chicago jazz. Mastering the piano at a young age was central to his artistic development. Cole developed his style as a teenager adding in his own flair for the blues. His unique playing style and sultry baritone voice were fully formed when he worked his way from Chicago to Los Angeles.
Signed to Capitol Records in 1943, Cole released his initial album as the lead vocalist of “The King Cole Trio” in 1945, at the dawn of the LP format, and topped Billboard’s inaugural album chart. In his brief 20-year career, he recorded more than 150 singles that reached Billboard’s pop, R&B, and country charts and sold more than 50 million records. His phenomenal success led to Capitol’s iconic round building on Vine Street in Hollywood to be known as “The House That Nat Built.” Cole’s impressive catalog has since garnered six platinum and two gold album awards, with six-times RIAA- platinum-certified “The Christmas Song” initially released in September 1964.
In addition to his recognition as a musical trailblazer, Cole is also recognized as a champion for civil rights. The revolutionary American singer’s impact continues across the world’s cultural and political landscape. In 1946, he broadcasted a 15-minute national radio program, “King Cole Trio Time,” the first of its kind to be hosted by an African American musician. In 1956, he became the first African American to host his own national network television show, NBC’s “The Nat King Cole Show.” In addition to his warm and welcoming stage personality, Cole was a featured actor in films including China Gate and the Oscar-winning Cat Ballou.
1. Deck the Hall/Joy to the World (duet with Johnny Mathis)
2. O Come All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles)/The First Noel
3. The Very Thought of You (duet with Kristin Chenoweth)
4. Auld Lang Syne (Interlude)
5. (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons
6. O Holy Night (duet with Calum Scott)
7. O Little Town of Bethlehem/Silent Night
8. We Wish You a Merry Christmas (Interlude)
9. A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square (duet with Gloria Estefan)
10. The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot
11. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on An Open Fire) (duet with John Legend)