Versions: Nature Boy

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

In the world of jazz music, it's probably easier to make a list of artists who have not covered eden ahbez 1947 'Nature Boy' than to make a list of those who have. From Nat King Cole to Harry Conick Jr. to Lizz Wright to James Last and Jamie Cullum, this sleepy track has become a jazz standard arguably since Nat King Cole put his stamp on it in 1948. Some versions tend to be moodier, some are minimal, others more convoluted (i.e Lizz Wright's version with the bongos and drums), but they still maintain the introspective quality of the original.

It's one of my favorite quiet tunes, and my favorite rendition has always been Celine Dion's. When I heard it, it was the first time I'd recognize Celine as the kind of versatile artist able to seamlessly perform jazz, pop, and ballads with fluidity. Recently, as in within the past 40 minutes, I discovered another version that I'm warming up to almost as much. It was done by the young frantic pianist Eldar, which I can't find clips to online, but it's worth a dig in your record store of iTunes ;)


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