175

Nat Adderley: A Little New York Midtown Music

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Coming at the end of the ‘Seventies, this was a bit of a reunion. Nat and Johnny Griffin had played together on White Gardenia, Johnny’s salute to Billie Holiday. The others had played in various editions of the Cannonball band. (Victor Feldman and Ron Carter in the early ‘Sixties, Roy McCurdy later.) While the tone is light (the electric keys have a lot to do with it), the solos are heavy as the old friends make the most of this get-together.

Carter starts “Fortune’s Child” with a low bounce, Feldman adding high tinkles. The horns have a nice charge, but it’s a relaxed force; they don’t take over the track, they assume that position by birthright. Nat has bite to his solo – the stacatto shouts and rapid flutters are delivered with ease, and not without pleasure. Feldman’s turn is pleasant enough but he sounds generic at the electric; on the piano tracks he shows more confidence. And Griffin – I need hardly say more. He’s fast and furious, with that edge in his tone he almost always has. He picks up the tune all by himself, and so we go onward.

The title track is a step up: the piano helps, and so does Nat’s mute. He comes on warm and charming on this romantic evening of a song. Carter has a long springy solo, with fuzz in his tone and a lot of sliding. Nat skitters a bit but he doesn’t need flash: just that tone is enough. Griffin does a solid job, but no contest: this goes to Nat.

The electric keys work on the gentle funk of “Sunshine Sammy”. Feldman lays an “All Blues” riff as Griffin shouts bold, with plenty of growl. Nat makes his own noise, while Feldman strolls gently. It’s Johnny’s all right, as much as “Midtown” was Nat’s. “Yeehaw Junction” is a desperate moan on a lonely night. Nat takes the mute and cries up a storm with Carter as company. When Griffin and company join them, you know it’s a keeper. The sax is rarin’ to go: Johnny sputters, rolls, and boils, with his strongest turn of the album. Nat is relaxed, and just as sad. He lights on a four-note pattern, gets intense, and returns to the alleyway with Carter as the night slowly fades.

“Come Rain or Come Shine” is another muted ballad; Nat is warm, but less so than “Midtown”. Griffin struts in broad gestures, confident as all get-out; Nat now asserts himself, and the track is better for it. Carter stays close to theme in a very tuneful solo; it’s his best turn.

“Whipitup” is a happy mover by Feldman: Griffin was made for tunes like this, and he hits the ground running. He leaps, sings, exalts – and never stops moving. Nat does likewise, with a clear brassy tone not heard elsewhere – call it a draw. Feldman has his best: at the piano he is assured and brings the chords home. Carter’s “Saguaro” starts off with a horn tremolo and a tender tone from Griffin. More relaxed than elsewhere, the golden notes shine as the horn swaggers. It ends too soon; Nat starts breathy and quickly gains force. He tremoloes some more, and scales upward, Feldman’s sadness leading the way. Victor is brighter on the solo, with full chords and pretty blues. The tremolo returns from the dueling horns, and things end on a happy note. (Feldman’s, by the way.)

| Record Label: Fantasy Jazz | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Love Dance CD/LP/Track Review Love Dance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Honest Woman CD/LP/Track Review Honest Woman
by James Nadal
Published: February 20, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Super Petite" CD/LP/Track Review Super Petite
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 13, 2016
Read "Unstatic" CD/LP/Track Review Unstatic
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 11, 2016
Read "Never Group" CD/LP/Track Review Never Group
by Mark F. Turner
Published: March 23, 2016
Read "R Train On The D Line" CD/LP/Track Review R Train On The D Line
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 22, 2016
Read "Reconnect" CD/LP/Track Review Reconnect
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: February 26, 2016
Read "Six By Five" CD/LP/Track Review Six By Five
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 11, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!