Gloria Estefan is the latest artist spotlighted in a series of videos providing an inside look at the recording of A Sentimental Christmas with Nat “King” Cole and Friends: Cole Classics Reimagined – a unique holiday album that weaves Nat’s distinctive, beautifully restored vocals with new arrangements and contemporary artists. In its look at “13 Albums That Revisit (and Redefine!) Holiday Classics,” The New York Times praised Estefan and Cole’s “tender read” of “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square.” In the newly posted clip, Estefan recalls how Cole was the first artist she listened to as a child growing up in Cuba and shares how she approached the recording session.
“I was imagining that we were in some little club, Nat ‘King’ Cole and I, and he was at the piano and I was with him,” Gloria Estefan says. “I was really looking at him in my mind…and trying to create something that we were doing together. And it’s easy for me because I imagined that a million times as a kid.”
Jay Landers (Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, Barry Gibb) and mixer Dave Reitzas (Natalie Cole, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion), who was responsible for mixing the historic Grammy®-winning virtual duet, “Unforgettable,” by Natalie and Nat “King” Cole, also share their insights in the video, which leads off the playlist. View HERE.
Johnny Mathis, a lifelong friend of Cole’s, is heard on the album’s lead-off track, “Deck the Hall/Joy to the World.” “He was the best singer, I think, that I’ve ever heard. Absolutely brilliant. He had a great voice. And he, of course, absolutely influenced me in so many ways,” notes Mathis, who was only 13 when his father took him to a San Francisco nightclub to see and meet Cole. “To hear him at Christmastime, it still warms my heart.”
John Legend, who duets with Cole on “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on An Open Fire),” says, “He’s one of my musical heroes, one of my role models for how I sing, how I phrase, how I think about music and I’m honoured to sit here at his piano at Capitol Records…It’s impossible for me to think about Christmas music without thinking about Nat ‘King’ Cole.”
Calum Scott blends beautifully with Cole on “O Holy Night.” Calling the experience “a dream come true,” he recalls, “My grandma was a big Nat ‘King’ Cole fan…we used to listen to his songs with my grandma way back when. Hearing our voices ring out together towards the end, I got goosebumps like you wouldn’t believe.”
Kristin Chenoweth duets with Cole on “The Very Thought of You,” one of the standards that Landers felt could lend itself to a Christmas interpretation. Chenoweth explains, “In my mind, as the artist, I’m thinking of how his daughter might have sung this with him, though they didn’t do it together. But I’m think of Natalie because I knew her and I loved her.”
The New York Post observed, “Cole is synonymous with Christmas. This collection reworks some of his classic Christmas recordings while blending in some non-holiday standards.” Co-produced by Jay Landers and GRAMMY® Award winner and Oscar nominee Jorge Calandrelli (Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga), who also arranged and conducted, the album’s material was sourced from Cole’s timeless album, The Christmas Song, and other recordings from his esteemed catalogue.
A Sentimental Christmas with Nat “King” Cole and Friends: Cole Classics Reimagined is available on CD, vinyl, and all digital formats with an exclusive Rudolph Red vinyl available at Walmart;listen/buy here.