Jazz Cruise Notes: Contemporary Sounds
Natalie Cole is famously the daughter of legendary Nat King Cole. For those fans of The Jazz Cruise, that also makes her the niece of Freddy Cole, one of the stalwarts of that cruise and the world of jazz vocals. Given those genes and that level of fame, one could easily imagine her having a successful career as a singer, but that road is not as easy as it may seem. The proof of that assertion can be shown through a little quiz: Name the top vocalists in the world who are either sons or daughters of famed vocalists. Yes, there are some who have had careers, and both Nancy Sinatra and Debby Boone had gimmicky hit songs. But Natalie Cole is among the very, very few who legitimately stands on her own … and then some.
Nat King Cole did not survive to see his daughter follow in his footsteps with her own solo career. He died of cancer in 1965 at age 45. Ten years later, Natalie won the first of her nine career Grammy Awards as Best New Artist of 1975, the year she debuted with the hit “This Will Be,” which also won for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female. In 1991, her tribute album, “Unforgettable … With Love,” won Album of the Year and marked a mid-career comeback. Certainly, the mystique of sharing a song with her deceased father was an overwhelming aspect of that record, but it took someone of Natalie’s talent to pull that off with the style and grace that it deserved and needed.
Natalie’s career path has had its ups and downs. A few years ago, Natalie was diagnosed with kidney failure and started getting dialysis treatments three times a week. Appearing on “Larry King Live,” she made an appeal for a kidney donor. Watching at home was a nurse named Esther who “serendipitously” had been on duty at the hospital one day when Natalie was in for treatment. “Oh, I took care of that lady,” the nurse told her niece, Jessica, who was also watching. “She’s so nice, I wish I could help her find a kidney.” Less than two months later, Jessica, who was only 30 years old and eight months pregnant, died unexpectedly of a stroke. Her aunt came forward and offered the kidney, since her niece was an organ donor. She was a perfect match with Natalie.
Yet another family hardship came recently, when Natalie lost her mother, Maria, who died of cancer at age 89. Under the stress of that difficult time, Natalie lost her appetite and a lot of weight. But she bounced back, as she has from all the challenges in her life. “You know,” she says with a light laugh, “I may be down for a minute, but once I figure it out, I can’t stay there for too long.”
They say that what does not kill you makes you stronger. Natalie Cole is living proof of that adage, and her life story can be seen and heard in each song she sings and appearance that she makes. As has been the case with many, many great vocalists, as they age their heart, soul and mind becomes part of their voice, and you can feel the texture of their lives in each note.
Personally, I am so excited that Natalie Cole will be on The Smooth Jazz Cruise ’15.1 and ’15.2. She embodies all of the elements of music, guts, style and grace that we have tried to present over the years on this wonderful cruise. As our sailings have always come from the “heart,” so too will the shows and songs of Natalie Cole, a true jazz superstar. I wish to thank Barbara Rose, Natalie’s manager, for making this appearance happen for our wonderful Guests. Barbara is also the manager of Boney James, so we owe her an even greater level of thanks. Barbara will be sailing with us on The Smooth Jazz Cruise ’15.1, and we look forward to “showing off” our cruise to her!
The Smooth Jazz Cruise 15.2 has less than 100 staterooms left available! Get on board NOW by clicking the register button below and Do Not Miss Natalie Cole!
Passionate about music and passionate about cruising. Put 'em together and I'm in heaven -- you can catch up with me on a themed cruise and, especially, on an Entertainment Cruise!