Nat Cole: That Sunday, That Summer - JazzWax

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February 22, 2011


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Bill Kirchner

I loved Nat's recording of "That Sunday" when I was a kid--I heard it often on the radio when I was 10-11 years old. Years later, I occasionally played the song on jazz gigs. I'm surprised that more jazz musicians didn't pick up on the song; the only other recording I know of it is by Sarah Vaughan.


For me,the version that is most touching is that done by Betty Carter on her "Look What I Got!" date. Wistful and sung with an almost overwhelming sense of loss,it gets to the heart of the lyrics in a way Nat's version only hints at. I probably associate late-period Nat King Cole too often with "ooh-ah" choruses(as here)-like when Ray Charles was paired with the Ray Charles Singers. In the meantime,ck out the Carter backing 4tet(with a killer Don Braden solo).

Jason Crane

I've heard that JFK loved that song and once asked Nat to play it at the White House. The timeline in this article seems to argue against that, though. Does anyone have additional information?

Roger Schore

After ending his stint as "Tonight Show"
host, Jack Parr had his own prime time
Friday night show on NBC (this was the
series on which Parr showed film clips
of the Beatles before they reached our
shores and hit the stage of the Ed Sullivan
Show.) I remember Cole performing this
song on one of the programs.


Following this post, I went on youtube and heard several versions- Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, even George Benson. But none capture the sweet melancholy of Nat King Cole's. I imagine that it is supposed to be a happy song, but it moves me to tears.

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of a Song" (Grove) and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax is a two-time winner of the Jazz Journalists Association's best blog award.

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