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The King Cole Trio Volume 4


Recorded 1949
Released 1949 (78) and 1950 (10" LP)

Nat Cole - piano, vocals, arranger
Irving Ashby - guitar
Joe Comfort - bass
Jack Costanzo - bongos
Capitol CC-139 (78) and H-177 (10" LP)

  1. Bop Kick
  2. I Used to Love You (But It's All Over Now)
  3. 'Tis Autumn
  4. Yes, Sir, That's My Baby
  5. For All We Know
  6. Laugh! Cool Clown
  7. Little Girl
  8. If I Had You

Unknown to anyone at the time, this compilation would prove to document the last chapter of the King Cole Trio as Nat's kingdom. But the later chapter of the realm is not a sad one and there's no lengthy suffering in this empire's decline. The strengths remained while change brought new ideas and experiences. Even the economy prospered.

Enough of the rather precious and tenuous analogy eh? The most drastic change here is the addition of percussion. Ah but no heresy here; it's an unconventional but interesting choice of bongos. While the "clip clop" wasn't always happily wed at all moments, it had decided bright spots, adding a new element to the Trio's rhythm which in turn sparked such later highlights in the Trio's output as Bop Kick, rightly selected here. Lovely and intimate balladry continued with such examples as 'Tis Autumn and For All We Know, while the more chipper side is represented by the delightfully infectious oldie Yes, Sir, That's My Baby and one of my favs, I Used To Love You (But It's All Over Now). Little Girl is a neat combination of precious sentiment and a deft jazzy groove at up-up-tempo speed.

An odd selection is If I Had You. Now, it does feature a good example of Nat's affectingly sincere, warm way of singing that had been a specialty years before he became known as a solo pop vocalist. But I am a bit surprised that it made the cut compared to a number of other Trio contenders. All the more so since, according to the Mosaic discography, it seems to have been included on both Volume 3 and Volume 4! Perhaps someone was determined to shoehorn it into the Trio's legacy mm? "Isn't it considered one of the best? It's not? Well maybe they need to listen to it again! Put it in this set too!"

All in all, after many years of numerous popular and critical successes, their fourth and final comp in this series proved the Trio had yet another rare accomplishment to its credit: it phased out with class, creative and popular delight intact.