Oct 28, 2019
Resonance Records has lead an archival revolution over the past decade, digging up long lost or previously unknown recordings from the likes of Bill Evans, Wes Montgomery and Stan Getz. But Zev Feldman and George Klaban’s largest, and perhaps most important project is just about to be released.
Released in partnership with the Nat King Cole estate, Resonance Records’ Hittin’ The Ramp: The Early Years (1936-1943) is the first large-scale collection of the pivotal early recordings of Nat’s 29-year recording career. Most tracks are receiving their first official release in this meticulously restored set of original live-to-disk recordings. The box-set will be available on November 1.
The project is available as a definitive 7CD and limited-edition 10LP collection draws upon a wide range of sources, including many newly-discovered tracks unearthed for the first time from archives located all over the world. As befitting the importance of its subject, it will include an extensive 60+ page booklet with rare photographs; essays by acclaimed author Will Friedwald and guitarist Nick Rossi (with a special focus on Trio member Oscar Moore); interviews and testimonials from Johnny Mathis, Tony Bennett, Quincy Jones, Harry Belafonte, John Pizzarelli, Freddy Cole, Michael Feinstein and many others.
The idea for Hittin’ The Ramp grew out of a conversation Feldman had with the music writer/historian Friedwald, who as an offshoot of a biography he is writing with Jordan Taylor, suggested that Resonance undertake the project to help restore Cole’s early musical history. The years in question on these recordings were mostly ignored prior to now, and both men feel that listening to Cole during his formative years will allow listeners to see his influences and growth as a piano player and songwriter in a new light.
For Podcast 708 I was fortunate enough to assemble Feldman, Friedwald, Taylor and Matt Lutthans (who are all co-producers along with Seth Berg) for a freewheeling discussion of the history of the project, as well as inside stories on the discovery and restoration of a number of rare and exciting tracks. Their enthusiasm for the project shines through the conversation, making it one of the most enjoyable I have ever conducted.
Musical selections from Hittin’ The Ramp include “Slender, Tender and Tall”; “Trompin” (a special type of jukebox-only release for Cinematone circa 1939), “;“Vine Street Jump” from 1940; and the set’s closing tune, a close to fully realized take on the Cole classic “Straighten Up and Fly Right.”