'The World of Nat King Cole,' premiering Wednesday on PBS
Full story: The Macon Telegraph
Your write up makes some very valid points.However in our business the first cocern is to be a sucess.When you are, as was Nat people don't much worry about whether or nor a black Man even a super Star can stay at a white Hotel,which in those days down south was impossible even in Las Vegas where we played many times.
We did a tour in 1949 through out the south and the racial discrimination was hostile and intense.I was a white musician breaking the color line with Nats trio The risk Nat took for that break through was huge,and it paid off by helping people realize[at leasr a good portion]the status Quo could not be tolerated.I saw the changes come into place. Lena Horn and Josephine Baker taking the stand that they would not play at venues where the audiance was not intergrated.Nat did his part by doing what needed to be done,by keeping everything in focus and becoming as popular with white audiences as he was with black audiences. It was quite exciting to see the changes however tiny. I started out to say a few words here and ended up doing a novel Please forgive for that
Mr. Bongo? The one and only?
May I salute your talent and your courage. Old musicians never retire. May you live to be 100 and scorch those skins until you drop. While I enjoy Nat's singing, imo his true genius lay with the jazz trio. A virtuoso whose understated technique on piano has never been surpassed -- he ranks with the greatest in jazz. How effortless and easy it seemed (not).
Someone had to break the color barrier and as I watched "American Experience" document the ugliness and hostility Nat Cole faced -- at home in Los Angeles and on the road -- at times I wanted to cry. What sick bigot would poison a DOG. At least his chldren remained unharmed. Thank God for that. In the face of prejudice and hatred, Mr. Cole remained a true gentleman, his gracious behavior putting to shame the people who hated him (well, not actually him, but what he represented).
Whoopi Goldberg's tart commentary skewered racist notions of African Americans. Did you know, she remarked, that until the first black voice-over on a commercial for Zest soap, white folks never realized that we used the stuff. Too funny. Too true.
You haven't written a novel, Mr. Costanzo.(that's my specialty on these boards -- big grin -- babbling on for pages) My goodness. You have lived a full, rich life and made so much beautiful music. Further recollections will be eagerly welcomed. Any time.
With gratitude and appreciation,
A Fan of Frank Sinatra and Traditional Jazz
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