Straighten Up and Fly Right:
The Nat King Cole Tribute
featuring Ramsey Lewis and John Pizzarelli
Nat King Cole broke the pop barrier with his smoky, smooth vocals, stringing along a huge number of solid hits right after his first, “Straighten Up and Fly Right,” soared up the charts in 1943. As a vocalist, he was called “the best friend a song ever had,” but he was a jazz performer at heart. Even those later tracks crafted for the pop charts belie a piano technique, vocal phrasing, and on-the-mark orchestration that are indebted to his roots in jazz.
Pianist Ramsey Lewis and guitarist-singer John Pizzarelli pay tribute to the titan of 1950s vocal pop in a concert featuring Cole’s hits along with those singular tracks of sophisticated cool jazz that have influenced their own recordings.
“We have a hard time imagining anyone recapturing the magic of sterling jazz pianist and pop-idol crooner Nat King Cole in quite the way that piano vet Ramsey Lewis and string-swing star John Pizzarelli do,” writes a critic for Time Out New York.
The concert includes Cole standards such as “Route 66,” “Smile,” “Hit That Jive Jack,” “(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons,” “Nature Boy,” and “Unforgettable.”