Arts

H. Johnson Discusses The Musical Influences Of Nat King Cole

Nat King Cole's 100th birthday was on March 17th. Today "City Lights" was the first in the series for Nat King Cole's centennial celebration.
Nat King Cole's 100th birthday was on March 17th. Today "City Lights" was the first in the series for Nat King Cole's centennial celebration.
Credit AP Photo

Sunday marked the 100th anniversary of Nat King Cole’s birth. It is hard to overstate Cole’s contribution to American music and culture and impossible to estimate the depth of his influence on musicians of all genres.

To commemorate Nat King Cole’s centennial year, Lois Reitzes will be speaking with musicians and scholars about the legacy of Cole’s artistry.

Today, the host of WABE’s Blues Classics and Jazz Classics, H Johnson, talked with Lois Reitzes about the musicians who influenced Nat King Cole and his astonishing talent as a pianist.

One of Nat King Cole’s early piano influences was Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines.

“Earl Hines had a way of playing that is still being emulated by a lot of pianists today.” H. Johnson said.

Louis Armstrong was very embracing of Cole and helped shape his outlook in music:

“Louis Armstrong influenced practically everybody during his era,” Johnson said

“Piano players were influenced by him and Nat King Cole was one of them.”

Johnson also likes to compare Nat Cole’s format to younger influences, such as Benny Green.