Nathaniel: A Tribute To Nat King Cole
Toronto jazz singer songwriter Ori Dagan, a staple in the local jazz scene, recently won the Global Music Awards silver medal for “Outstanding Achievement” in the Best Album category. This latest accolade comes with due praise for “Canada’s Next Top Crooner,” whose award-winning visual and musical project, Nathaniel: A Tribute to Nat King Cole (co-produced by Douglas Romanow and Nathan Hiltz), was released to a live audience on Sunday, October 22, 2017 at Toronto’s Lula Lounge.
Nathaniel: A Tribute to Nat King Cole includes 12 vibrant music videos for each track. “I wanted to visually and musically honour Cole,” says Dagan, who has celebrated many musical greats throughout his career. “I think a lot of listeners take for granted just how much of a genius he was. Maybe because he made everything sound so easy.”
The same can be said for Dagan’s signature scatting. His extraordinary rendition of “Unforgettable” features seamless scatting that cannot be touched. “Sting of the Cactus,” one of the originals penned by Dagan and Hiltz, also features Dagan’s smooth baritone scatting against Mark Kieswetter’s fluid piano. “Complexion,” another original, was inspired by Cole’s on-stage attack by four white supremacists in Birmingham, Alabama.
“Darling Je Vous Aime Beaucoup” offers a slower contrast to Dagan and Hiltz’ clever, upbeat “Bibimbap,” which is tagged as Dagan’s “answer to “The Frim-Fram Sauce, King Cole Trio’s double-entendre 1945 hit,” in James Gavin’s rich liner notes. The energy continues in the colourful flute solos by award-winning jazz flautist, Jane Bunnett, in “El Bodeguero” (The Grocer), a cha-cha-chá from the album Cole Español. The album also features Canadian jazz singers Alex Pangman and Sheila Jordan in “Pretend” and “Straighten Up and Fly Right.”
The timing of Nathaniel: A Tribute to Nat King Cole’s release, like Ori’s musical sensibility, is impeccable as the late Nat King Cole earns centennial status next year.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: ORI DAGAN – NATHANIEL: A TRIBUTE TO NAT KING COLE