Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Nat King Cole: Hittin' the Ramp 
Nat King Cole: Hittin’ the Ramp: The Early Years (1936-1943) (Resonance, 2019)

This box ends where many Cole compilations begin, with early-’40s hits like “Sweet Lorraine” and “Straighten Up and Fly Right.” But it quickly demonstrates that the King Cole Trio of the mid-to-late ’30s was already all kinds of hot well before reaching Capitol Records and wider fame in 1943. Cole, perennially underrated as a pianist, just takes charge here, and guitarist Oscar Moore is his perfect foil. A single CD of box highlights, Straighten Up and Fly Right, is also available, but why not go for the full seven discs? You can never have enough of music this fun. MAC RANDALL

Learn more about Hittin’ the Ramp: The Early Years (1936-1943) on Amazon, Apple Music, and Walmart.