Recorded by Nat 'King' Cole
Arranged by Nelson Riddle, Prepared for Publication by Dylan Canterbury, Rob DuBoff, and Jeffrey Sultanof
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Cat #: JLP-6013


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Edition: Jazz Big Band Arrangement

Description: Swing - Medium

Publisher: Jazz Lines Publications

Recorded in 1955 for what would be his final solely instrumental album, this Nelson Riddle arrangement of I Never Knew for Nat 'King' Cole is a simple, but highly effective, framework to feature Cole's delightfully graceful piano playing. Make sure that your ensemble dials their intensity back in order to not overwhelm the piano, which is featured throughout virtually the whole performance.

Things kick off with a typical Riddle ear worm riff that bounces back and forth between the trumpets and trombones. This riff comes up a couple more times during the melody, and can be played with a similar volume level each time. Cole's piano commences with the melody at measure 5, with the saxes playing backgrounds that tend to be a little more sustained and the brass playing in a more syncopated style.

Cole's improvised solo begins with a short break at measure 35. Riddle throws the arrangement's most notable surprise at measure 45 with an unusual mid-form key change that still manages to feel natural to the listener's ear. Cole's piano briefly concedes the spotlight to the ensemble at measure 69, with the trombones and saxes playing the first four measures of the melody under a bugle-like trumpet fanfare. Cole retakes the starring role for most of the remainder of the arrangement at measure 79, with a simple extended descending figure in the band serving as an easy, yet appropriate, finale.

This publication was based on Nelson Riddle's pencil score and the original set of parts used during the recording session - this is not a transcription.

Full Score
2 Alto Saxophones
2 Tenor Saxophones
Baritone Saxophone
4 Trumpets
3 Trombones
Bass Trombone
Trumpet 1: Bb5
Trombones 1-4: Ab4