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Louisville Orchestra pays tribute to Nat King Cole in Christmas show

Nat King Cole's rendition of "The Christmas" song remains on of the most popular version of the holiday classic.
Donna Permell
/
Donna Permell
Nat King Cole's rendition of "The Christmas" song remains on of the most popular version of the holiday classic.

The music of Nat King Cole is iconic, and his interpretation of holiday classics have endured. The Louisville Orchestra is working with several Grammy-winning artists for “Holiday: Nat King Cole Christmas.”

The Louisville Orchestra will honor the work of Nat King Cole with music and visuals.

Gabriel Lefkowitz will conduct the show which will feature a collection of Cole's legendary work holiday-themed and otherwise.

Four-time Grammy Award winner Terri Lyne Carrington is the show’s music director. The jazz artist will play drums for the concert.

“[Cole’s] Christmas music is really nostalgic for a lot of people,” Carrington said. “His voice is timeless..the arrangement for this Christmas music that he recorded is timeless as well. It makes it so that it's still relevant.”

Cole’s rendition of “The Christmas Song” remains one of the most popular versions of the holiday classic.

For Carrington, Cole’s music establishes the right tone for the yuletide season.

“It's time that people are nostalgic. It can be a feel-good time,” Carrington said. “And Nat King Cole’s music is feel-good music and nostalgic too.”

The stage at the Louisville Palace will feature images and TV clips of Cole to create a visual aspect to the tribute concert.
Donna Permell
/
Donna Permell
The stage at the Louisville Palace will feature images and TV clips of Cole to create a visual aspect to the tribute concert.

As a jazz artist herself, Carrington said Cole’s music helps her get into her spirit.

“He was a jazz musician, but he crossed over to popular music,” Carrington said. “And he's just a great example of how jazz can be timeless, it can be popular, and combined with Christmas songs that are timeless and popular.”

Carrington will be playing alongside fellow Grammy-winners Ben Williams, Ryan Shaw and Tony Award nominee Jared Grimes.

The show will feature historical images and television clips of Cole creating an auditory and visual tribute.

Carrington hopes the show will offer a reprieve for people dealing with tough times during the holiday season.

“Have a moment away from that to just relax and you know, hopefully escape from some of those concerns,” she said. “And that's definitely needed right now as we're all coping with a lot of different things. Life is complicated.”

“Holiday: Nat King Cole Christmas” is Dec. 20 at The Louisville Palace.

Editor's note: Louisville Public Media is among the media sponsors of the Louisville Orchestra.

Breya Jones is the Arts & Culture Reporter for LPM. Email Breya at bjones@lpm.org.