Nat “King” Cole Live On

Civil rights was an important issue in the 1960s. We tend to recall the people who made speeches. We do not always remember the people who went about their business and made a difference. Nat “King” Cole was one of those people.

In the 1950s, Cole was as popular as Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin or Tony Bennett. He was in movies and had his own TV show. He often performed at the Venetian Room in San Francisco. He died 50 years ago on February 16, 1965. Through the magic of technology, here he is performing with his daughter Natalie:

We are reminded with the film “Selma” that this was a very difficult time in our history. The march in Selma happened on March 25, 1965, more than a month after Cole’s death.

A tribute to Nat “King” Cole will take place at the Venetian Room with Bay Area Cabaret on March 21. Jazz legend Ramsey Lewis will perform with John Pizzarelli. Composer and pianist Lewis has recorded more than 80 albums, creating seven gold records and winning three Grammy Awards.

Pizzarelli is a jazz guitarist and vocalist. He has 23 albums to his credit and more with other artists such as Sir Paul McCartney and James Taylor. For Pizzarelli, this tribute is personal. He says, “I’ve always said in my concerts that Nat “King” Cole is why I do what I do.” Pizzarelli chose to create two albums to honor his hero. Here he is playing one of Cole’s favorite songs, “Route 66.”

Bay Area Cabaret is an 11-year-old nonprofit organization. The “Tribute to Nat “King” Cole” plays one night only on March 21 at 5 pm and 8 pm at the Venetian Room at the Fairmont Hotel. Tickets are available at:

Best wishes,