Recorded February 17th, 18th, 20th 1958 & June 11th & 30th 1958
Nat Cole - Vocals
Nelson Riddle - Arranger
Armando Romeau, Jr - Cond.
Mariachi de Alfredo Serna
Lee Gillette - Producer
"Nat King Cole's beautiful sound translates across language barriers."
Latin language recordings were common among American pop vocalists in the '50's. The singer would have to learn the words phonetically, a feat all the more impressive when one considers that at the time performances were almost always "live" even in the studio.
In 1958, Nat went to Havana, Cuba and decided to record his first Latin American records. Seeing to the arrangements was no less than Nelson Riddle, but rather than impose his style, Nelson sought a more authentic orchestral flavor. The orchestra was under the able direction of Armando Romeu, Jr. and Mariachi de Alfredo Serna, with the results being unusually authentic for the genre. In this first album, the orchestras were recorded in Havana, Cuba, and Nat recorded his vocal later at the Tower. Nat's efforts at Latin American dialects doubtless sound strangely accented to anyone familiar with the appropriate languages, but there's no question that the sound and musicality of his voice and the efforts of Nelson, Armando and Alfredo come off fine.
Nat King Cole's beautiful sound translates across language barriers. This album was more proof. The most important factor though is probably just having an honest good nature come across, which anyone can appreciate. Nat and Capitol would encore twice, with A Mis Amigos and More Cole Espanol, and Latin and English speaking folks alike bought impressive amounts of all three albums.