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Reviews: Nat "King" Cole: After Midnight

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Reviews: 4

Review by gonzostick January 5, 2011 (4 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
BRAVO, INDISPENSABLE!!! Nat "King" Cole, with his trio and distinguished guest artists, in MONO, with sound that continues the outstanding sonics of this incredible series.

Nat Cole was about to turn the corner into the singing career that made him famous when he brought his trio into Capitol records in 1956 and made these recordings. The man had an uncanny ability to comp (jazz lingo for piano accompaniment) while singing. His solos are virtuosic, pared down to essentials, just like vintage Count Basie, and the band is so tight, they fit like a tailored suit. The contributions from the assembled instrumental soloists are lovely.

I hear more color in his vocals than I have EVER heard in ANY issues of these recordings, and I own all of them. Even in mono, this sounds like the trio is sitting in my living room.


DO NOT MISS!!! Yes, just like the last two issues in this series, this disc made me float about six inches above the floor.

Much has been said about the great loss that was Cole's absence from jazz performance, when he was promoted as a crooner. These recordings show the joy and the loss of that wonderful presence as pianist and jazz singer. The swinging, relaxed character of these performances is a feast of joy, even when the songs are complete trifles... Just like Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong, Cole could sing the simplest song and elevate it!

I am still of the opinion that the SACD issues of the last of Cole's Capitol albums are the release of the year!!! This one is for the ages... If you love jazz and singing, get this!

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Review by progboy March 14, 2012 (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Well I echo everything gonzostick says about this little delicate album and the early yet brilliant peek into the genius of a crooner beginning to blossom. Nat King Cole is on the mic and on the piano and is accompanied by his trio where together they get into some great soft jazz. I love all the Nat King Cole SACD AP releases and this one is no exception.

Of course Cole is the centerpiece of this album but his trio are also amazing....John Collins (guitar) , Charlie Harris (bass) and drummer Lee Young.

I do hear more tape hiss on this SACD than the other AP releases but that is not a deterrent just a fact of age of these vintage recordings. But make no mistake you have never heard this album so clear and so true to life....

The 50`s Mono never sounded sooooooo good...nor did Cole !

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Review by pvcmusiclover April 11, 2012 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Of course, Nat King Cole is something else. Probably one of the best vocalists of all time.

For those of you unfamiliar with recording technology history, the 50s was a total crapshoot in terms of quality. Actual capture quality ranged from "knock your socks off" to "a huge pile of saturated mud" Record cutting systems could also add quite a bit of coloration to a recording, while others were somewhat neutral.

Capital Records had an amazing studio (Studio A), outfitted with equipment built all in house.

Really, you just have to hear it to believe it. The amount of depth and neutrality of tone in this whole disc is just incredible. You just can't believe this recording is pushing 55.

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Review by Little Nemo February 25, 2013 (6 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Firstly: who the heck is that one person out of 20 (at the time of writing) who voted NOT to recommend this remastered masterpiece?! Sheesh!

I have to echo earlier sentiments. This album is SO well recorded and remastered. The energy of the performances push it almost into rock 'n roll territory. I'm not kidding; it's easy to imagine Elvis performing many of these tracks. The real differences between this and rock 'n roll are the sophisticated arrangements and virtuoso playing, and of course those cooler-than-cool jazz licks.

The remastering by Hoffman and Gray are what allow this wonderful recording to shine through so many decades later. Unlike the other Nat remasters from Analogue Productions, which had three-track session tapes for H&G to work from, to remix and to add fresh new reverb, [i]After Midnight[/i] was recorded only to one-track mono tape. And so this original mono session tape is all they had. Happily it's a beautifully dry recording, with none of the thick 50's studio echo chamber that marred the other original releases. All Hoffman & Gray had to do was to transfer the session tape straight to DSD as cleanly as possible, using the very best play-back equipment and valve-powered mastering deck.

It really is a perfect job. There's no attempt to "enhance" the sound with smiley-face EQ or compression. What you hear on the SACD is what you would hear on the original tape. It only goes to reinforce the fact that a good mastering engineer is a mastering engineer who knows when to just leave something alone. If it ain't broke...

If you love music you simply MUST treat yourself to this pristine piece of history.

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