Picks and Pans Review: Music on Video


The title of this exemplary 90-minute biography is from a Nat King Cole hit, but it’s also the adjective applied to Cole’s voice by one of the tape’s interview subjects: Frank Sinatra. Sinatra (in a “Sicilians Are Sensational” jacket), Quincy Jones and Harry Belafonte, among others, talk about Cole between clips of his singing. It’s frustrating that the tape, originally a BBC documentary, includes so few complete songs; Cole and Ella Fitzgerald, for example, are cut off in the middle of “It’s All Right with Me.” But this is still a vivid portrait of the first black to host a regular network TV show. Jones compares Cole’s impact with Jackie Robinson’s, and Cole’s widow, Maria, and daughter Natalie describe him in ways suggesting that he, like Robinson, was a man of fierce pride and rare dignity. (MPI, $24.95; 800-338-7710)

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