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Album Review

Most of the albums that Nat Adderley recorded in the '60s employed a saxophonist; Yusef Lateef, Joe Henderson and Charlie Rouse were among the tenor heavyweights he featured on his albums. But Naturally! is an exception to that rule. Produced by Orrin Keepnews for Jazzland in 1961, Naturally! was the cornetist's first album of quartet performances. Adderley uses two different rhythm sections on this date, which was reissued on CD in 2003 for Fantasy's Original Jazz Classics (OJC) series. One consists of three players he knew from brother Cannonball's group: bassist Sam Jones, drummer Louis Hayes and pianist Joe Zawinul (nine years before Weather Report). The other rhythm section is comprised of musicians who had worked as Miles Davis sidemen: pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones. And whatever rhythm section he is working with, Adderley never has a saxophonist on these performances — most of which have a strong Miles Davis influence and a relaxed sense of swing. Adderley goes for a fast, busy sound on Sonny Rollins' "Oleo" — which lends itself to that type of approach — but the cornetist is a lot more relaxed and economical on "Love Letters," "Chloe" and the title track. For the most part, Naturally! is a bop album, although Adderley gets into a modal post-bop groove on Sonny Red's "Images." Red, an alto saxophonist with a definite Charlie Parker/Jackie McLean influence, was hell-belt for bop most of the time — and "Images" (which sounds like a combination of John Coltrane's "Impressions" and Kurt Weill's "Speak Low") isn't typical of his writing. Nonetheless, it's a great, if overlooked, tune that works nicely for Adderley, who was 29 when he recorded this solid and pleasing (if less than essential) album.


Born: November 25, 1931 in Tampa, FL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

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 1951-1953. After a period with Lionel Hampton (1954-1955), Nat made his recording debut in 1955, joined Cannonball's unsuccessful quintet of 1956-1957,...
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Naturally!, Nat Adderley
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