(2-LP set) Nat 'King' Cole's music is the perfect combination of romantic charm and musical invention. Cole is renowned for his big production numbers and pop hits such as "Stardust", but he was also an accomplished and unique jazz pianist and excelled in a small-group setting. "After Midnight's" album cover states that this is a 'trio' release. However, Cole is actually paired up with his trio plus five guest soloists (saxophone, trombone, trumpet, percussion, and violin). The dubious credits don't matter much though. This is precious music and, without a doubt, one of Cole's best records.
Included here are wonderful and intimate renditions of Cole favorites "Sweet Lorraine", "(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66", and many others. Trombonist Juan Tizol performs a beautiful version of his Afro-Cuban tune "Caravan", and Cole and violinist Stuff Smith trade some hot licks on the up-tempo "I Know That You Know". For anybody looking to understand the depth and breadth of Cole's jazz roots, this disc is an excellent point of departure.