Little Brother's Moment


Judging from the sunny sound of his cornet, you wonder if Nat Adderley's face ever showed a frown. His signature sound is like some reliable musical sun. You always know where you can find it -- it's consistently warm and bright and in the pocket. Branching Out (Original Jazz Classics, 1994) presents Nat's first recording without brother Julian, recorded in 1960 between Nat's exit from and then return to Cannonball's legendary soul-jazz quintet. Hard-swinging tenor saxman Johnny Griffin joins the frontline, and The Three Sounds (a full-time working trio led by pianist Gene Harris) provide rhythm for hire.

Nat and his brother wrote friendly-sounding melodies, like this set's opening "Sister Caroline," and his cornet sounds blissful and sanguine in "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" and "I Got Plenty O' Nuttin." But the quintet also plays powerful, more aggressive stuff. It double-times the melody to Monk's "Well, You Needn't" into a brilliant rhythmic sheen, tears into the title track with a sharp and slashing attack, and fans the torrid rhythms of "I Never Knew I Could Love Anybody" even hotter when the horns and drums trade fours near the close.

The Brothers Adderley come together on What Is This Thing Called Soul: Live in Europe (OJC, '94) recorded during Cannonball's 1960 European tour; Naturally! (OJC, 2003) presents Nat as the only horn in two different quartets supported by rhythm trios lifted from bands led by Cannonball and Miles Davis. Nat's 1960 soul-jazz classic Work Song is featured in the Keepnews Collection.