Fuller Up The Dead Musician Directory 
Nathaniel Adderley
Nat Adderley
January 2, 2000
Age 68

 An Individual Voice on Cornet

     by Kenny Mathieson 
     Copyright © 2000 Kenny Mathieson 
     The Scotsman, 2000 

     Nat Adderley may have spent a significant part of his career in the shadow of his better known 
     older brother, the alto saxophonist Julian 'Cannonball' Adderley, but he was always a major 
     contributor to their shared projects, and achieved a great deal in his own right after his 
     brother's death in 1975. 

     He was born Nathaniel Adderley, and took up trumpet as a teenager in 1946. He began 
     playing in local bands in Florida, and made what became a career long switch to the smaller 
     cornet in 1950. He did so against the prevailing tide. Cornet had been the horn of choice for 
     New Orleans trumpet players in the early days of jazz, but had fallen out of fashion in favour of 
     trumpet by the bop era.  

     Adderley evolved a distinctive signature on the instrument, blending a rich tone and earthy 
     warmth with the horn's inherent touch of astringency to great effect. He played in an army band 
     for a time during his military service from 1951-3, then joined the band led by vibraphonist 
     Lionel Hampton in 1954, his first association with an established jazz figure. He remained with 
     Hampton until 1955, and cut his earliest recordings for the Savoy and EmArcy labels that 
     same year.  

     Cannonball Adderley had made an early mark in New York when he sat in with bassist Oscar 
     Pettiford at the Cafe Bohemia in Greenwich Village in 1955, but that did not translate into 
     immediate success when the brothers joined forces in Cannonball's Quintet the following year. 
     He broke up the group in 1957, and Nat worked with trombonist J. J. Johnson and 
     bandleader Woody Herman before reuniting with his brother in 1959. 

     The earlier lack of success quickly evaporated. The band's funky, gospel-tinged jazz became 
     one of the most successful sounds on the hard bop and soul jazz circuit, and they even scored 
     an unexpected chart hit with 'Mercy, Mercy, Mercy' in 1966. Cannonball had featured 
     alongside John Coltrane in Miles Davis's classic Sextet which made the legendary Kind of 
     Blue album in 1959, and that association provided the boost he needed to take off as a star in 
     his own right, with the cornetist very much his right hand man. 

     Nat had continued to record under his own leadership, and made his most famous record for 
     the Riverside label in January, 1960, with a band which featured guitarist Wes Montgomery. 
     The resulting album, Work Song , included the tune which remains his best known 
     composition, 'The Work Song'. Its bluesy call-and-response chorus was an emblematic 
     example of the hard bop style of the period, and is still widely played. 

     It became a mainstay of the Adderley's as well as the hard bop repertoire, but was not the 
     only composition by the cornetist to do so. His significant contributions as a composer also 
     include widely performed tunes like 'Jive Samba', 'Hummin'', 'Sermonette', and 'The Old  

     His role as a soloist was no less significant, and he was equally adept at uptempo hard bop 
     excursions and richly delineated ballads. Miles Davis had been an early influence on his style, 
     but he developed a highly individual and very expressive voice of his own, which included a 
     sparing but effective use of the very low registers of the horn. 

     Nat remained a central part of his brother's various projects until the saxophonist's unexpected 
     and premature death from a stroke in 1975. Their collaboration included an ambitious but very 
     uneven "folk musical" based on the tale of the mythical black hero figure, John Henry, with 
     lyrics by Diane Lampert and Peter Farrow. It was released on record as Big Man (Fantasy) in 
     1975, with the late Joe Williams singing the title role, and soul diva Randy Crawford making 
     her recording debut as Big John's woman, Carolina.  

     A concert performance was given at Carnegie Hall the following year as a tribute to the 
     saxophonist, and a full theatrical production under the title Shout Up A Morning was 
     eventually staged at the Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts in Washington and the La 
     Jolla Playhouse in California in 1986. 

     The cornetist had formed his own band shortly before his brother's death, and he continued to 
     lead it until 1997, when his right leg was amputated following complications from diabetes, 
     which would eventually lead to his death.  

     Bassist Walter Booker was a virtual ever-present in the band, but Adderley was equally open 
     to the younger generation of players, and featured the likes of pianist Rob Bargad and alto 
     saxophonist Vincent Herring for extended periods. He was appointed artist in residence to the 
     faculty of Florida Southern College in 1996, and was inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame in 
     Kansas City in 1997.  

     If he made his classic contributions to the music in the early 60s, he remained a highly 
     resourceful and always musical performer throughout his long career, and left a rich recorded 
     legacy in his many albums with his brother, under his own leadership, and as a sideman.  

     His son, Nat Adderley, Jr, is also a musician. He is also survived by his wife, Ann; his 
     daughter, Alison; and five grandchildren. 

          Kenny Mathieson 
          Kenny Mathieson is a freelance writer based in Scotland. His book Giant 
          Steps: Bebop and The Creators of Modern Jazz (1999) is published by 
          Payback Press. 

          E-mail: kenmat@dircon.co.uk 

Nat Adderley, Cornetist, Composer, And Brother Of Cannonball, Dies At 68

                Nat Adderley, the cornetist and composer of such jazz standards as 
                "Work Song" and "Jive Samba," died in Lakeland, Fla. on Sunday (Jan. 2) 
                after an extended battle with diabetes. He was 68.  

               Nat Adderley became a well-known  figure on the post-bop jazz scene in 
               the mid-1950s in groups with his older  brother, alto saxophonist Julian 
               Adderley, who was better known as Cannonball. Although 
               the two were always associated, and often played together 
               until the elder Adderley's death in 1975, Nat Adderley forged 
               his own path as a performer, and especially as a composer. 
               Many Nat Adderley compositions have become part of the 
               canon of jazz standards, including "Sermonette," "Jive Samba,"  
               and especially "Work Song," which became a vehicle for  
               vocalists as well after the addition of words by Oscar Brown, Jr.   

                     "He was a beautiful cat, he really was," says saxophonist 
                     Sonny Fortune, who played in Adderley's band in the 1980s, 
                     "Nat played incredible cornet -- whoa! And he wrote some 
                     great music. Nat was a good man."  

                     Nathaniel Adderley was born Nov. 25, 1931 in Tampa, Fla., 
                     and made his first forays into music as a child singer. When 
                     his voice started to change as an adolescent, Adderley 
                     learned to play the trumpet with the instruction of brother 
                     Julian, who played the instrument before switching to 
                     saxophone. Nat Adderley played trumpet until 1950, when he 
                     picked up the cornet. "When he was playing cornet, cornet 
                     was more or less a thing of the past," said Fortune, "but he 
                     was playing the daylights out of the cornet."  

                     The Adderley brothers joined the military in 1951, and played 
                     together in the 36th Army Band until 1953. After returning to 
                     civilian life, Nat Adderley finished his education, after which 
                     he joined the Lionel Hampton Orchestra. By 1955, Nat 
                     Adderley was playing with Cannonball in the latter's 
                     ensembles, based in New York. Some of the brothers' earliest 
                     sessions together have been recently reissued on the Savoy 
                     Jazz label as The Summer of '55. Nat played with J.J. 
                     Johnson and Woody Herman while Cannonball was playing 
                     with Miles Davis, but rejoined Cannonball's band in 1959.  

                     On his own albums, Nat Adderley performed with a number of 
                     jazz greats that included Bobby Timmons, Wes Montgomery, 
                     Johnny Griffin, Percy Heath, Joe Zawinul and many others. 
                     His 1960 album Work Song introduced his most famous 
                     composition. Following in the tradition of brother Cannonball, 
                     Nat Adderley would entertain audiences with between-song 
                     chats that relied on his extensive knowledge of jazz, and 
                     were usually tempered with infectious humor. According to 
                     Fortune, "Nat used to say, almost every night, especially 
                     introducing 'Work Song' -- he would make a big joke out of 
                     it: 'Yeah, that's one of my compositions and I play my 
                     compositions. And I feel good about playing my 
                     compositions, because I don't play them, who will?'"  

                     After Cannonball's death, Nat worked to stage the jazz 
                     musical Big Man, The Story of John Henry, which the 
                     brothers had written together. Adderley also started a band 
                     with reedmen Ken McIntyre and John Stubblefield, and 
                     continued to lead his own groups into the 1990s with such 
                     sidemen as Fortune, Jimmy Cobb, Vincent Herring, and 
                     Walter Booker. Adderley's touring became gradually more 
                     restricted with his advancing diabetes, for which he had his 
                     right leg amputated in 1997. That same year, he joined the 
                     faculty of Florida Southern College as artist in residence.  

                     Nat Adderley is survived by his wife, a son, and a daughter.  

                                                          -- Drew Wheeler

      Nat Adderley, Jazz Cornetist and Composer, Is Dead at 68 
          By BEN RATLIFF 

               Nat Adderley, a jazz cornetist and trumpeter who was a frequent 
               collaborator with his brother, the saxophonist Cannonball 
          Adderley, and a composer whose style popularized a melodic, bluesy, 
          secular gospel-jazz, died on Sunday at a hospice in Lakeland, Fla.  

          He was 68 and lived in Lakeland.  

          The cause was complications from diabetes, said Fred Stuart, his 

          Mr. Adderley was born in Tampa, Fla., and began his career playing 
          with bands in Florida. In 1950 he changed from trumpet to cornet, and 
          during the early 50's he played with a military band in the Army. In 1954 
          he joined Lionel Hampton's group, and in 1956 he became part of the 
          Adderley Brothers quintet started by his brother, an alto saxophonist.  

          That group disbanded in 1957 and the brothers reunited in the 
          Cannonball Adderley Quintet before the end of the decade. With 
          Cannonball Adderley's buoyant, linear style and Nat Adderley's more 
          dynamic sound, the quintet became one of the longest-running groups in 
          postwar jazz, remaining active until Cannonball Adderley died in 1975 
          and making a series of hard-hitting records. Three of the most popular 
          songs in its repertory, which all became standards, were written by Nat 
          Adderley: "The Work Song," "Jive Samba" and "Hummin'."  

          Mr. Adderley, who had also appeared as a sideman on other records by 
          musicians including Kenny Clarke, Wynton Kelly and Jimmy Heath, 
          started his own band shortly after his brother's death, modeled on the 
          music they played together. The alto saxophonist Vincent Herring often 
          played the Cannonball Adderley role in the band. The group recorded 
          for Enja, Landmark and other labels, and performed widely for about 20 
          years, until Mr. Adderley lost a leg because of diabetes in 1997.  

          Nat Adderley's band was one of the more stable groups in jazz: the 
          bassist Walter Booker remained with him for most of two decades and 
          the pianist Rob Bargad played with him through the 1990's.  

          Outside his group, Mr. Adderley also collaborated with his brother on a 
          musical about the folk hero John Henry. It was released as an album, 
          performed as a concert at Carnegie Hall in 1976, and then as a full 
          theatrical production called "Shout Up a Morning" at the Kennedy 
          Center for the Performing Arts in Washington and the La Jolla Playhouse 
          in California in 1986.  

          Mr. Adderley is survived by his wife, Ann; a son, Nat Adderley Jr. of 
          West Orange, N.J.; a daughter, Alison Pittman of Palm Bay, Fla.; and 
          five grandchildren.  



All-Music Guide
 Nat Adderley's cornet (which in its early days was strongly influenced by Miles Davis) was always a complementary voice to his brother Cannonball in their popular quintet. His career ran parallel to his older brother for quite some time. Nat took up trumpet in 1946, switched to cornet in 1950 and spent time in the military, playing in an Army band during 1951-53. After a period with Lionel Hampton (1954-55), Nat made his recording debut in 1955, joined Cannonball's unsuccessful quintet of 1956-57 and then spent periods with the groups of J.J. Johnson and Woody Herman before hooking up with Cannonball again in Oct. 1959. This time the group became a major success and Nat remained in the quintet until Cannonball's death in 1975, contributing such originals as "Work Song," "Jive Samba" and "The Old Country" along with many exciting hard bop solos. Nat Adderley, who was at the peak of his powers in the early to mid-'60s and became adept at playing solos that dipped into the subtone register of his horn, has led his own quintets since Cannonball's death; his most notable sidemen were altoists Sonny Fortune (in the early '80s) and Vincent Herring. Although his own playing has declined somewhat (Adderley's chops no longer have the endurance of his earlier days), Nat has continued recording worthwhile sessions. Many but not all of his recordings through the years (for such labels as Savoy, EmArcy, Riverside, Jazzland, Atlantic, Milestone, A&M, Capitol, Prestige, SteepleChase, Galaxy, Theresa, In & Out, Landmark, Evidence, Enja, Timeless, Jazz Challenge and Chiaroscuro) are currently available. -- Scott Yanow, All Music Guide