NATHANIEL: A TRIBUTE TO NAT KING COLE
Lillette; Sting Of The Cactus; Nature Boy; Sweetheart; Straighten Up And Fly Right; Keep It Simple; Bibimbap; Pretend; Complexion; Darling Je Vous Aime Beaucoup; El Bodeguero; Unforgettable (37.10)
Ori Dagan, Sheila Jordan, Alex Pangman (v); Mark Kieswetter (p); Nathan Hiltz (elg); Ross McIntyre (b); Mark Kelso (d); Jane Bunnett (ss); Magdelys Savigne (pc) No location or dates listed.
With a recent box set, Gregory Porter at it and this release there is a lot of attention being paid to the late, great, Nat King Cole. Toronto based vocalist Dagan has a dark, mahogany voice and can scat at any tempo with ease. There is no attempt here to emulate Nat’s vocal sound and that in itself is good news. The rapid fire scatting adopted by Dagan on some of these selections is impressive and he can also sing in straight ahead manner which he does. The slightly surreal Nature Boy is done as an up tempo vocal by Ori, slowing down on certain phrases for emphasis. The voice is clean and clear in the baritone and his phrasing is suitable for a jazz approach. Perhaps the most impressive and interesting track here is Straighten Up where he locks vocal cords in duet with veteran jazz singer Sheila Jordan. The two swap phrases in classic tradition and the voices make a fascinating combination. Both scat contentedly and impressively before returning to the lyrics to take it out. Another song closely associated with Nat is Unforgettable which is here sung and played as an up tempo samba type reading. Ori Dagan is certainly an individual stylist and has a good strong voice; he is well supported on this release by a strong rhythm section and Jane Bunnett’s swirling soprano sax solos. Pretend is a vocal duet with Alex Pangman and here, certainly, the two play it straight ahead without vocal gymnastics of any sort.