The Too Marvelous Trio began as the brainchild of Robert Perkins about three years ago. Rob cast this particular trio (Peter Smith, piano/lead vocal; John Storie, guitar/vocal; Alex Frank, bass/vocal) in a weekly engagement in Los Angeles and charged them with the task of diving into the music of the King Cole Trio. The trio got tighter and tighter, and after a year playing that weekly engagement, it became clear that this trio, this concept, wanted to grow beyond its local, weekly gig. Peter and Rob got together and decided that the best course would be to take this music and these players and create a show rather than a recording, a way for folks to not only hear this great music but learn about how it came to be, what the social context was for Cole, and why Nat “King” Cole was one of the most important figures in American music. “Too Marvelous For Words” was born, and we would soon start touring the country, playing performing arts centers across the country. Those performances are ongoing, and the show is in the process of expanding, adding Keith David as lead performer, as well as drums and string quartet. “Live at the Boston Court” represents the “trio show.” The microphones captured this one performance on May 13, 2016 in Pasadena, CA. There were no edits, no overdubs— everything was as live as it could be! All arrangements are based on the King Cole Trio versions of the songs, and the arrangements were written by Robert Perkins and Peter Smith, with input from John Storie and Alex Frank.
"Call The Police" is one of Nat’s early compositions, a novelty tune that’s a precursor to "Straighten Up And Fly Right." This version expands the King Cole arrangement to include more 3-part harmony, as well as some humorous outro ad-libs that are in the style and spirit of the song. Most of the arrangements increase the 3-part vocal element already inherent in the King Cole Trio. "Straighten Up and Fly Right" is one of Cole’s biggest hits, and is his own composition. "The Ballad Medley" includes "Unforgettable," "Mona Lisa," and "Smile." These are three of the most famous songs Cole ever recorded. "Stop! The Red Light’s On" is another early novelty song, and "I’ll String Along With You" is a beautiful ballad by Harry Warren that Nat put on the map. "This Is My Night To Dream" features some nice 3-part harmonies in the shout chorus and the modulation. "Tea for Two" is an adaptation of Nat’s arrangement of this song, the main adaptation being the inclusion of the “Shiny Stockings” shout chorus from the Basie band, which fits nicely over the chord changes for this song. "It’s Better To Be By Yourself" is another Cole original that utilizes his great sense of humor, and is an early novelty tune. "When I Take My Sugar To Tea" is a great example of an early love song, with plenty of humor in the lyrics to set the tone for the piece. "Gone With The Draft" is a Cole original and couldn’t have been more current in its subject matter. This arrangement includes an excerpt of “Tricotism” in the shout chorus, which is an Oscar Pettiford song. Like “Sugar to Tea,” "Naughty Angeline" is another song on the romance theme that is couched in humor, and there’s a vocal shout chorus that was added alongside the original instrumental shout chorus. "Sweet Lorraine" was the first ballad Nat recorded, and this version closely follows his original performance. "How About You" is an arrangement from the Oscar Peterson Trio, which was modeled on the breakthrough King Cole Trio, and the song is played here as an example of the instrumental impact that Nat’s trio had on music history. "Too Marvelous for Words" was written by Nat’s boss at Capitol Records (Johnny Mercer). John Storie takes the lead vocal here, and this version includes Charlie Parker’s “Scrapple From the Apple” as a shout chorus. Cole had a huge hit with "Route 66," and this is always a fun tune to play— everyone gets a chance to solo here. "Hit That Jive, Jack!" closes the CD and the show, and this arrangement adds an additional shout chorus in the middle of the song. It’s a classic King Cole Trio number from its early days, and one of the Too Marvelous Trio’s favorite songs to play!
-Robert Perkins and Peter Smith
released July 26, 2016
Peter Smith (piano/lead vocal)
John Storie (guitar/vocal)
Alex Frank (bass/vocal)