The Best of Nat King Cole is part of EMI-Capitol Special Markets' Ten Best Series, where they selected ten hits from a popular artist on their roster. For the budget-minded, it's a nice collection of Nat King Cole's best-known hits, like "Unforgettable," "Ramblin' Rose," "Mona Lisa," "Walkin' My Baby Back Home" and "(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons." It certainly won't please either jazz purists or Cole collectors, but the budget-conscious looking for an affordable (albeit skimpy) sampler of well-known Cole should turn here.
Steven Isserlis and Richard Egarr here assemble all the viola da gamba sonatas written by three composers born in the propitious year of 1685: one each by Handel and Domenico Scarlatti, and three by JS Bach. Isserlis plays them on the gamba’s modern cousin, the cello, and the microphone loves his playing, picking up all the nuances and scampering asides from his soft-spoken instrument which can sometimes get lost in big concert halls. Egarr on harpsichord matches Isserlis’s eloquence and rambunctious energy all the way. The dreamy, airy slow movement of Bach’s Sonata in G minor brings telling use of vibrato as Isserlis circles around Egarr, his playing at once idiomatic and soulful. An extra cellist reinforces the bass line in the Handel and Scarlatti, in which the composers give the harpsichordist only a framework; Egarr’s imaginative realisations ensure that even when Scarlatti is at his most repetitive, he is never dull.
"Check out this adventurous disc featuring bold and innovative arrangements of the music of J.S. Bach that reframe it in new soundscapes that draw on jazz, world and pop influences. The recording brings Lara together with English composer/producer Magnus Fiennes and arranger Brian Gascoigne, along with such unusual guest artists as the Indian tabla virtuoso Trilok Gurtu and pedal steel guitar legend B.J. Cole. For Sony Classical, Lara will record both core classical and contemporary crossover."
(well, I would say Bach sounds way better without all that fluff… and Lara is hot for sure :))
Clear, realistic sound with brilliant digital recording. Cole plays with feeling and panache, adding unexpected and pleasing embellishments.
Easily the longest of any Capitol single-disc compilation, 2005's The World of Nat King Cole also benefits from a fresh remastering of its material to make it the best introduction to the interpretive brilliance of Nat King Cole. Nearly all the hits that need to be here are indeed present: "Straighten Up and Fly Right," "Route 66," "Nature Boy," "Too Young," and "Mona Lisa." The compilers also wisely chose a few representative songs to replace some of the middling hits; the only surprise is the absence of "The Christmas Song" and "Lush Life," although the chart hits – "Answer Me, My Love," "Pretend," "Looking Back"…
Favorite Ballads is an entertaining collection of lush, romantic ballads Nat King Cole recorded for Capitol Records. It's not designed to be a comprehensive compilation for collectors. Instead, it's a nice sampler. Latter-day fans may be dismayed that "Unforgettable" is missing, but such songs as "The Very Thought of You," "Just One of Those Things," "Stardust," "These Foolish Things," "Tenderly," "I Should Care," and "You're My Thrill" make this a very pleasant listen.