NAT ADDERLEY: LITTLE BIG HORN!
NAT ADDERLEY QUINTET
Nat Adderley (cnt) Junior Mance (p) Kenny Burrell (g) Bob Cranshaw (b) Mickey Roker (drs)
Plaza Sound Studios, NYC; September 23, 1963
Hustle with Russell (4:19) RM(S9)-474
Foo Foo (4:12) -
Little Big Horn (5:19) -
Loneliness (4:15) -
Jim Hall (g) replaces for K. Burrell
Plaza Sound Studios, NYC; October 4, 1963
Roses for Your Pillow (5:08) RLP(S9)-474
Half-Time (4:47) -
El Chico (6:41) -
Broadway Lady (4:17) -
Perhaps because he has worked so steadily as a sideman (mainly for Brother Cannonball, but also for Lionel Hampton ,Woody Herman and J. J. Johnson) and does not seem afflicted with leaderitis or psychological problems. Nat Adderley has come to be taken for granted on the jazz scene. Speaking for myself, though I had always enjoyed Nat’s lively and outgoing musical personality, I did not realize just ow good a player he was until hearing him in the company of Ray Nance, Harry Edison and Clark Terry (on Riverside 343, “Budd Johnson and the Four Brass Giants”). These were tough cats, but there was no letdown when Nat’s turn came. Since then, I’ve been paying more attention to Nat Adderley – one of the most solid, swinging and consistent trumpeters of his vintage.
“Trumpeter” is not really the correct term, for Nat has played the cornet almost exclusively since 1950. In his preference for the mellow “shorthorn” Nat finds himself in fellowship with such past and present practitioners as Bix Beiderbecke, Rex Stewart, bobby Hackett, Thad Jones, Wild Bill Davison, and three more recent converts: Ray Nance, Ruby Braff and Don Cherry. The cornet has a rounder, warmer and more open sound than the trumpet, and it is surprising that so few modernists have adopted it; it can compensate for the relative dryness of the vibratoless approach to trumpet playing that came in with Dizzy Gillespie.
In addition to playing fine cornet , Nat Adderley writes very good jazz originals. Sermonette first brought this facet of his talent to wide attention, and of course he had himself a hit with Work Song and another in Jive Samba. All eight numbers on this set are Nat’s (Half-Time was co-authored by Big Brother Julian) and they are substantial – especially the ballad Roses for Your Pillow and the ingeniously simple and haunting Loneliness. The others, like the man himself, are straightforward, unprecious and often full of impish humor.
Not surprisingly, Nat’s playing, too, reflects these aspects of his personality. He doesn’t strive for effects in an attempt at originality at all costs – a practice that often merely results in affectation. His influences are discernible (as they should be – no artist in any field ever dropped from the moon fully equipped with a unique style) but he has his own musical profile. The blues and the church are with him, not as acquired appendages but indigenously. He can be adventurous, but he always makes musical sense.
If there is a keynote to Nat’s playing, it is the happy feeling he communicates. Nat that he’s all on one level – but when he projects sadness it isn’t despair, and when his mood is somber, it is free of self-pitty. On faster tempoes, he bubbles and crackles with good humor, never sacrificing time for speed. In a good medium groove (as on the title tune here) his swing is infectious. And he is always tasty.
Nat’s cohorts for the sessions at hand include two of the finest jazz guitarists around. Jim Hall and Kenny Burrell play on four tracks apiece, and this provides and interesting opportunity to compare their work. Burrell is the more bluesy of the two, and his stroke is more accented. His sound is bigger but perhaps less varied. He swings strongly, on or slightly ahead of the beat. His sound is softer and more flexible but, as he shows on Half-Time, he can be a very assertive player when the mood strikes him. On Roses for Your Pillow he sounds remarkably like Django Reinhardt in the opening of his pretty solo.
Pianist Junior Mance, another natural swinger, was a charter member of the first Cannonball Adderley Quintet. Now a leader in his own right, Mance heads one of the best piano trios, and he brought his bassist and drummer along to back-stop for his sidekick. They all give fine support throughout. Junior is particularly good on Hustle with Russell, where he sounds a little like a contemporary Cripple Clarence Lofton! Throughout, he shows himself to be a first-rate accompanist – a rare talent these days.
Among the highlights of the music to be found here, one might mention Nat’s Rexish half-valve work, Jim Hall’s four great choruses and the jolly marching drums-and-bugle ending on Half-Time. There is, as well, Nat’s assertive solo on Broadway Lady (who is more Lady than Broadway) and his moving work on Roses for Your Pillow, particularly in the bridge following the guitar spot; Burrell’s sensitive improvisation in Loneliness, a piece built on two chords in which Nat’s horn comes on like a voice in the wilderness; the pleasantly mexicali flavor of El Chico; and the way Kenny digs in and Nat gets around he valves on Hustle with Russell. On Little Big Horn, Nat dons a Harmon mute to good effect.
This is a pleasant and refreshing album of clean, honest and well-played jazz, with more than a few moments of uncommon interest. Both as player and composer, Nat Adderley has a story to tell that’s well worth hearing.
In addition to being featured o albums by the CANNONBALL ADDERLY group, including –
Nippon Soul (477; stereo 9477)
Jazz Workshop Revisited (444; stereo 9444)
NAT ADDERLEY can be heard on such LPs of his own as –
That’s Right! , with Yusef Lateef, Jimmy Heath (330; stereo 9330)
Work Song, with Wes Montgomery (318; stereo 1167)
NOTE: all 8 titles also on MSP-9009
RM(S9)-474 “Little Big Horn! with Junior Mance Trio, Kenny Burrell/ Jim Hall”
Produced by “A Junat Productions”; recording Engineer: Ray Fowler.
Notes written by Dan Morgenstern. Cover design by Ken Deardoff; back-liner photo by Ed Mitchel.
RIVERSIDE RECORDS are produced by BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS, Inc.
235 West 46th Street, New York 36, N. Y.