Nathaniel Adams Coles, better known as Nat "King" Cole, was born in Alabama, the son of a Baptist minister. He learned to play the organ from his mother, who accompanied his father in church. Originally a keyboard phenom, he later studied classical piano, but it was jazz -- and the influence of such key-tickling masters as Earl "Fatha" Hines -- that really sent him down the path to becoming a musician. And, of course, it was his voice -- that melting swatch of velvet laced with perfect pitch and a melancholy edge -- that made his name in the business.
No wonder local actor Leonard Barrett Jr. chose to emulate Cole for his new cabaret show, Unforgettable: The Songs of Nat "King" Cole, Mathis, Marvin and More, a revue of Cole classics spiked with cool numbers by other vocalists inspired by the singer. Barrett will croon tonight beginning at 8 p.m.; the show will continue on Friday nights through March at Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret, 1601 Arapahoe Street in the D&F Tower. Get tickets, $25, at www.lannies.com or call 303-293-0075.
Fridays, 8 p.m. Starts: Jan. 13. Continues through March 30, 2012