Nicolas Bearde: I Remember You: The Music of Nat King Cole

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Nicolas Bearde

With Special Guest Eric Alexander

I Remember You: The Music of Nat King Cole

Reviewed by Alix Cohen for Cabaret Scenes

Don’t expect Cole’s voice. Rather than deeply resonant, Bearde’s is somewhere mid realm, savory and warm, with occasional sand. His jazz inflection is respectful of the melody.

The vocalist is easy going, sympathetic; thoughtful.

He breathes lyrics.

“I Remember You” (Johnny Mercer/Victor Schertzinger) is low key and appealing. Peter Horvath’s lovely piano ripples. “That Sunday, That Summer” (Joe Sherman/G.D.Weiss) starts with a smiling shrug.

The singer is chipper, pleased with “her”; in fact, he’s tickled. Eric Alexander’s doodling tenor sax weightlessly carries us.

A familiar “Sweet Lorraine” (Mitchell Parish/Cliff Burwell) flows like warm molasses. “Smile” is pronounced “sssmall.

”  The piano (Josh Nelson) seems like soft shoe with a slide. This one has a classic feel, as if passed down through generations. It’s sentimental and affecting.

“The Rules of The Road” (Cy Coleman/Carolyn Leigh) saunters in on the pulse of Lorca Hart’s shimmering cymbal, then hitches a ride on Nelson’s insouciant piano. It’s a cool interpretation with fragmented lyrics as if the vocalist were thinking in real time. Bearde projects jaded fatigue. 

Cole’s own “Straighten Up and Fly Right” is bass-centric (Dan Feiszli) and bemused. Bearde lets us hear more grit. Character voices are flinty. Hart plays Buddy Rich-ish drums, bouncy and hip.

The hushed “Tenderly” (Walter Gross/Jack Lawrence) conjures slow dancing with a dip. Nelson’s piano shines like moon on water. The rhythm is an organic pulse. We believe every word of an ardor-filled “I Wish You Love” (Charles Tenet/Albert Beach/Pietro Deiro), ending the CD gently.

Alix Cohen

Alix Cohen’s writing began with poetry, segued into lyrics then took a commercial detour. She now authors pieces about culture/the arts, including reviews and features. A diehard proponent of cabaret, she’s also a theater aficionado, a voting member of Drama Desk, The Drama League and of The NY Press Club in addition to MAC. Currently, Alix writes for Cabaret Scenes, Theater Pizzazz and Woman Around Town. Additional pieces have been published by The New York Post, The National Observer’s Playground Magazine, Pasadena Magazine and Times Square Chronicles. Alix is the recipient of six New York Press Club Awards.