CD Review: “Nat King Cole: Re:Generations” |

CD Review: “Nat King Cole: Re:Generations”

Various Artists, Capitol Records

“Nat King Cole: Re:Generations”

There aren’t any bad takes on “Re:Generations,” a collection of remixes of Nat King Cole songs contributed by some of pop’s biggest producers.

Black Eyed Peas producer uses a simple piano vamp and backing beat to update Cole’s “Straighten Up and Fly Right” and maintain its easy 1940s feel. Frequent Outkast collaborator Cee-Lo Green highlights the darker, richer tones in Cole’s voice for a futuristic take on Billy Strayhorn’s “Lush Life.” The Roots apply the hip-hop band’s extensive jazz knowledge to a dreamy big band ballad rendition of “Walkin’ My Baby Back Home.”

TV on the Radio’s haunting take on “Nature Boy” draws on Cole’s interpretation of the song – which has a distant, affected feel to it, and always seemed oddly matched with the chorus: “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love, and be loved in return” – to come up with a scratchy electronic background that creates the far-out atmosphere implied in Cole’s recording.

A few tracks are less successful: Brazilian Girls overplay the creepiness of “El Choclo,” and Salaam Rami goes overboard on the string arrangements in “The Game of Love.”

But the 13-track compilation starts and finishes with strong sets, and each interpretation of the songs Cole made popular showcases why he was able to do that.

Rating: 3.5 stars

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