Recorded Dec 15th 1943, Jan 17th 1944, March 6th 1944
Released late 1944 (78) and 1950 (10" LP)
Nat Cole - piano, vocals, arranger
Oscar Moore - guitar
Johnny Miller - bass
Capitol A-8 and BD-8 (78), H-220 (10" LP)
This album holds the distinction of being the first No. 1 album in the first entry in Billboard's first album chart of March 14th 1945, months after its release. And it stayed there for yet another 11 weeks.
The King Cole Trio had quite an output, most of the commercially released recordings being in the form of a record, which then generally meant what we might call a single, a two-sided, two-selection 10" 78 rpm shellac disc. The King Cole Trio Volume 1 was a collection of 4 such records, each proving to be a highlight in the discography by that time, both in terms of popularity and artistic standards. It was also the first in what would prove to be a very cluttered catalog of compilations which continues unabated to this day.
The selections are fantastic and were culled from only 3 sessions. Three selections from their second Capitol session is included here (It's Only A Paper Moon, Embraceable You, Sweet Lorraine). Their third session accounts for half the set (Prelude In C Sharp Minor, What Is This Thing Called Love?, Body And Soul, The Man I Love) while one cut from their fourth session finishes it off (Easy Listening Blues).
There is room for some debate as to whether this constitutes an original album or a compilation. It is my impression that this was a selection of records chosen for release both together and separately; I don't feel that the sessions were approached with a preconcieved notion of combining the given tracks into one set, and I have yet to read anything from any involved that specifies otherwise. That is my logic, such as it may be called, for considering it to be a compilation. As far as I can tell, the first time they approached sessions with the specific intent of packaging selections for one cohesive album project was the instrumental sessions that produced King Cole At The Piano. It must be said that this was very early in the concept of a music record album in any form, and therefore we can expect ambiguous situations like this.
For curiousity's sake, here's a bit about an original autographed edition of this album.