Diss welcomes show that celebrates why Nat King Cole is so unforgettable
PUBLISHED: 10:23 30 July 2018
With a soft, velvety smooth voice and profound elegance and dignity, Nat King Cole stands as a legendary figure in American music.
While still in his teens Cole began performing as a pianist in Chicago clubs with his brothers, making his first recordings for Decca Records under the name Eddie Cole’s Solid Swingers in 1936 before moving to LA and signing with the newly formed Capitol Records in 1943.
Breaking the popular big band mould with a line-up featuring only piano, bass and guitar, a stack of early jazz hits followed, before he developed into a classic, soulful crooner with the huge pop hits Mona Lisa, Nature Boy and his signature tune Unforgettable.
A pioneer in breaking down the fierce racial barriers of the time, Cole became the first black artist to have his own radio and television show and went on to star in several Hollywood films. He died in 1965 from lung cancer aged only 45.
With a career of just 23 years Nat recorded and performed hundreds of songs, but popular East Anglian singer Mark Anthony has hand picked 24 of his favourites for his show Unforgettable, which this week comes to Diss Corn Hall.
Supported by a quartet of musicians recreating the mood of the 1950s Cotton Club, it is a tribute to the music and songs from Mona Lisa to Unforgettable.
Mark is one of the hardest working performers in the region, playing more than 150 gigs across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex both as a solo singer and band member.
Not only is he a talented singer of soul, jazz, Motown, disco, swing and reggae music, he also plays a variety of percussion instruments; including bongos and rota toms.
He said: “The show will be a celebration of the late great Nat King Cole and it’s a tribute to the man rather than a lookalike or sound a like show.
“Some people have mentioned they see a little bit of a likeness- but there is one King Cole.”
The show has already toured in small theatres across the country and Mark and his band have played to sell out audiences.
“We put the show together fairly authentically and replicated the work Nat King Cole did in Chicago. There is a live quartet, pianos, double bass and drums. We even dress up in black and gold and wear dickey bows.”
In between the songs, Mark will provide a short narration about Nat King Cole. He will explain how the song he has sung relates to the artist’s life.
“He had a really interesting life and was the biggest recording artist of that time- in 26 years he recorded 100s of songs.
“Nat King Cole also had to deal with a lot of racial issues and neighbours didn’t like a black man moving into an expensive house when he became successful.”
• Unforgettable – A Tribute To Nat King Cole is at Diss Corn Hall, August 3, 7.30pm, £14, 01379 652241, disscornhall.co.uk