The Extraordinary Nat King Cole will be released in two distinct versions. The standard single-disc edition contains 22 classic Cole performances, while the two-CD Deluxe edition adds 14 rare and/or previously unreleased tracks, including four never-before-heard vintage songs and previously unissued alternate takes of the Cole standards ''Straighten Up And Fly Right,'' ''Unforgettable,'' ''Mona Lisa,'' ''The Christmas Song,'' and ''(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons'' taken from the Nat King Cole Story sessions. Also featured are ''Ain't She Sweet'' and ''What to Do,'' recorded in 1954, both of which find Cole trading vocals with his daughters Carole and Natalie (whose cross-generational 1991 duet version of ''Unforgettable'' helped to introduce her father to a new generation of listeners.
Love Is the Thing, a No. 1 album in the early LP era, is best known for Cole's rendition of "When I Fall in Love." The entire slate of Gordon Jenkins-orchestrated classics is a fine affair, though, with "Stay as Sweet as You Are" a particular standout. The pinnacle of smoothness.
This Live at the Circle Room date has been issued before, but the bonus material of the same band from a later date makes this an extra special set. For starters, the Circle Room, in the Hotel La Salle in Milwaukee, was the town's premier jazz spot in 1946. The first 17 tracks on this CD come from four performances between September 21 and 25 of that year. Cole, with Oscar Moore and Johnny Miller, had begin his singing career in earnest, and playing in front of a lounge crowd seemed like the most natural thing in the world for him. Indeed, as bottles click, and the periodic murmur of voices in the foreground appear in the mix, the listener will be transported into Cole's magical space. From Ellington's "C Jam Blues," to "I'm in the Mood for Love," "I'm Thru With Love," and "Sweet Georgia Brown," the Cole trio kicks it with grace and elegance.