Nat King Cole – Hittin’ the Ramp: The Early Years (1936-1943)

 

Title: Hittin’ the Ramp: The Early Years (1936-1943)
Artist: Nat King Cole
Label: Resonance
Formats: 7-CD box set, 10-LP box set, Digital
Release date: November 1, 2019

 

I could open this review with a clinical statement: This set presents virtually all of Nat Cole’s earliest recordings prior to his long association with Capitol Records, a relationship that provided the foundation to establish his wide recognition as one of the most important vocalists in the tradition of the Great American Songbook. Yet, I prefer a more emotionally connected view: Hittin’ the Ramp presents Nat King Cole’s earliest recordings, showing how he discovered, step by step, a pathway that permitted his remarkable talents to be heard and loved by a worldwide audience. Both views are correct, but only the second reflects the challenges a talented African American artist faced in building a reputation and, with it, the economic base necessary to support a sustainable full time career during the WWII era. Continue reading