12 Songs, 36 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Known early on as a master jazz pianist, Cole remade himself as one of the premier romantic crooners of his time. On this 1954 compilation we hear his rich baritone with orchestral backing that, despite its lushness, still manages to convey intimacy—Cole practically sings into your ear. The album leans heavily on Cole’s early ’50s work with arranger and conductor Nelson Riddle, most famously “Mona Lisa” and the title track, two definitive ballads of the era. The most offbeat twist is Riddle’s 1954 treatment of the Dimitri Tiomkin movie theme “Hajji Baba,” which Cole makes his own, delivering Ned Washington’s campily exotic lyrics (“Come to my tent, oh my beloved”).

EDITORS’ NOTES

Known early on as a master jazz pianist, Cole remade himself as one of the premier romantic crooners of his time. On this 1954 compilation we hear his rich baritone with orchestral backing that, despite its lushness, still manages to convey intimacy—Cole practically sings into your ear. The album leans heavily on Cole’s early ’50s work with arranger and conductor Nelson Riddle, most famously “Mona Lisa” and the title track, two definitive ballads of the era. The most offbeat twist is Riddle’s 1954 treatment of the Dimitri Tiomkin movie theme “Hajji Baba,” which Cole makes his own, delivering Ned Washington’s campily exotic lyrics (“Come to my tent, oh my beloved”).

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