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Nat King Cole (Signed)

Epstein, Daniel Mark

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ISBN 10: 0374219125 / ISBN 13: 9780374219123
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 1999
From Warwick Books, member IOBA (South Pasadena, CA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Hardcover with dustjacket. 8vo. First edition. SIGNED by the author on front cover; includes a letter from the author laid in. Book is in fine condition, as is jacket; a bright, lovely copy. Not price-clipped. In protective mylar. 438 pp. including index. Bookseller Inventory # 14811

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Nat King Cole (Signed)

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Hardcover

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


The first major biography of the great jazz pianist and singer, written with the full cooperation of his family.

When he died in 1965, at age forty-five, Nat King Cole was already a musical legend. As famous as Frank Sinatra, he had sold more records than anyone but Bing Crosby.
Written with the narrative pacing of a novel, this absorbing biography traces Cole's rise to fame, from boy-wonder jazz genius to megastar in a racist society. Daniel Mark Epstein brings Cole and his times to vivid life: his precocious entrance onto the vibrant jazz scene of his hometown, Chicago; the creation of his trio and their rise to fame; the crossover success of such songs as "Straighten Up and Fly Right"; and his years as a pop singer and television star, the first African American to have his own show.
Epstein examines Cole's insistence on changing society through his art rather than political activism, the romantic love story of Cole and Maria Ellington, and Cole's famous and influential image of calm, poise, and elegance, which concealed the personal turmoil and anxiety that undermined his health.


Pianist/vocalist Nat King Cole made everything look easy. His warm and haunting tenor voice, suave demeanor, and elegant piano style influenced dozen of singers and instrumentalists, including Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Oscar Peterson, and Diana Krall. But as Daniel Mark Epstein unveils in this illuminating biography, it took years of dues-paying for Cole to reach superstardom. With prose that reads like Cole's lyrical phrasings, Epstein takes the reader through the eventful places and spaces of the artist's life: from his birth in Alabama in 1919, his family's turbulent move to Chicago, and his rise as an Earl Hines-influenced teen jazz sensation, to the formation of his famous piano-guitar-bass trio in the '40s.

Epstein doesn't shy away from the lows, describing the anguish Cole caused his preacher father, the failed first marriage, tax and health problems, sibling rivalry, and the jealousy that destroyed his combo when Cole made the transition from jazz artist to pop singer. But these are balanced with the highs, like the tremendous success of Cole's vocal hits "Straighten Up And Fly Right" "Route 66," "Mona Lisa," and "The Christmas Song," and his second marriage to Maria Ellington. Epstein also cites Cole's quiet battles on the Civil Rights front. He purchased a home in an exclusive, all white Los Angeles neighborhood; insisted on performing for integrated audiences in the south and heroically survived a vicious racial attack during a Birmingham concert in 1956. "Nat King Cole was not a political philosopher schooled in rhetoric or the dialectics of history," the author writes. "He was a clear thinker with sound instincts and compassion.... Where he had gone--to riches, fame, and honor--he hoped his brothers and sisters would soon follow." By he time died of lung cancer in 1965, his artistry had left its mark on the 20th century and on everyone who loved him. As Epstein summarizes, "[H]e paid attention to his friends, his children, his sideman, his audiences and most of all his music." --Eugene Holley, Jr.

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Warwick Books, is an Internet-only bookseller that specializes in hard-to-find books for avid readers and collectors. Many of our books are out of print. Specialties include literature, signed firsts, art and photography, design, illustrated books, cookbooks, field guides, children's books, needlecraft books, and Americana. We recently acquired a large private collection of books on military history. The focus is on World War II as well as aviation history. Warwick Books is a member of IOBA, the Independent Online Booksellers Association.

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