Nat Adderley Biography

Nathaniel Adderley, 25 November 1931, Tampa, Florida, USA, d. 1 January 2000, Lakeland, Florida, USA. The younger brother of Cannonball Adderley, Nathaniel was a singer until his voice broke and he took up the trumpet. In the early 50s he served in the army with his brother and played in the 36th Army Band. His professional break came in 1954, when Lionel Hampton asked him to join his riotously swinging, R&B-inflected big band; he stayed for only a year. Later he played with Woody Herman and J.J. Johnson. In 1960, he released Work Song, a brilliant amalgam of the soul jazz for which he is celebrated and a more ‘cool’-style, chamber music instrumentation (including cello and guitar, the latter played by Wes Montgomery). ‘Work Song’ has since become a classic crossing over to pop/rock genres. Vocal interpretations have been recorded by Nina Simone and Eric Burdon of the Animals. Throughout the 60s and early 70s, he played in his brother’s band and following the latter’s death in 1975 kept alive that special brand of warm, rootsy bop, both on his own recordings and in other contexts, such as Nathan Davis’ Paris Reunion Band. In 1997, Adderley became artist-in-residence at Florida Southern College. He was a diabetes sufferer and died in January 2000.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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