Nathaniel: A Tribute To Nat King Cole
Toronto jazz singer songwriter Ori Dagan is making waves with his new album, "Nathaniel: A Tribute to Nat King Cole," a unique tribute to the jazz and pop icon. Featuring 7 fresh covers and 5 original tunes inspired by Cole's life, music and legacy, the recording is accompanied by 12 music videos, making it the first visual album in the jazz genre. Working with 8 different directors worldwide, the dozen music videos range from stop motion animation to lyric video, narrative to La La Land-inspired dance sequences, all made possible by a successful PledgeMusic campaign that saw 200 contributions worldwide. The first video, "Sting of the Cactus" enjoyed a world premiere on the Huffington Post USA.
The project follows up on Dagan’s music video success with “Clap on the 2 and the 4”, an original and humorous “jazz anthem for the rhythmically challenged.” The 2016 clip has earned over 85,000 online views, was screened at 15 film festivals worldwide and garnered 7 international awards including "Best Children's Song" at the Hollywood Songwriting Contest and “Best Educational Jazz Short” at the inaugural New York Jazz Film Festival.
So, why a visual album?
“This is a trend in pop music that makes complete sense in the context of our 21st century world," says Dagan. "These days you could be a Charlie Parker but if you don’t have a video for your single, nobody’s going to share your track. Personally I have loved music videos for many years, dating back to my teens when I worshipped Bjork on the Much Music countdown. I learned from her that a music video can be just as memorable as a song itself."
Why Nat King Cole, and why now?
“As we gear up for Nat’s centennial in 2019, I wanted to pay tribute to him in a bold way. I think a lot of listeners take for granted just how much of a genius he was, maybe because he made everything sound so easy. Pianistically he made dazzling solos seem almost casual. In researching for this project, I was completely surprised by his forays into foreign languages like Spanish, Japanese, French, Italian and the way he effortlessly and honestly delivered any song.”
In a nod to the King Cole Trio sound of the early 1940s, the album features the piano-vocal-guitar-bass combination that finds Dagan surrounded by some of Canada's finest: pianist Mark Kieswetter, guitarist Nathan Hiltz and bassist Ross MacIntyre. Co-produced by Douglas Romanow and Nathan Hiltz at Noble Street Studios in Toronto, the album also features esteemed special guests: 5-time JUNO award winner Jane Bunnett, “Canada’s Sweetheart of Swing” Alex Pangman and 88-year-old bebop icon Sheila Jordan, the first female vocalist to record for BlueNote Records back in 1963.