Friday, February 12, 2010

Nat ADDERLEY & The Big Sax Section - That's Right 1960

Nat ADDERLEY & The Big Sax Section - That's Right 1960
RLP 330.


Nat Adderley has seldom played with more fire, verve, and distinction as he does on That's Right! It places him in the company of an expanded sax section that includes his brother Cannonball on alto, Yusef Lateef on tenor, flute, and oboe, Jimmy Heath and Charlie Rouse on tenor, and baritone saxophonist Tate Houston. Solos crackle, the backing is tasty and stimulating, and the eight songs range from brisk standards to delightful originals. T
By Ron Wynn. All Music Guide.
The title of the album sums it up: why have one saxophone when you can have FIVE? Nat's brother Julian "Cannonball" is one of the five. Another notable saxophonist on this album is the incomparable Yusef Lateef. I thought he would be lost in a mess but thankfully he plays a little flute and oboe to stand out. This is enjoyable bigger band stuff, but by no means on par with Duke Ellington or Charles Mingus.
Nat Adderley had a great tone but was never really a very profound improvisor. More of a crowd-pleaser. And the very talented saxophone players on this session have few chances to shine, massed as they are in a Big Sax Section. Trapped somewhere between hard bop and big band jazz, it's as gimmicky as it sounds.
By Matthew Watters.
Two days ago I touched on Coleman Hawkins Meets the Big Sax Section from 1958, on which the tenor saxophonist was teamed with Count Basie's reeds and Billy VerPlanck's charts. In 1960, Nat Adderley [pictured] had a similar encounter, but with a different set of sax giants. On That's Right! Nat Adderley and the Big Sax Section (Riverside), the trumpeter was backed by five dynamic players—Cannonball Adderley (alto sax), Yusef Lateef (tenor sax, flute and oboe), Jimmy Heath and Charlie Rouse (tenor saxes), and Tate Houston (baritone sax). When combined, these musicians had a robust sound that was both tough and pretty.
What's more, six of the eight tracks were arranged by Jimmy Heath, whose reed writing here is spectacular. Yesterday I spoke with Jimmy about the album, which he says remains among his favorite recordings. More with Jimmy in a moment.
When That's Right! was recorded in August 1960, Adderley had already established himself as a leader and was a member of the thriving Cannonball Adderley Quintet. Several months earlier in October 1959, the group had recorded The Cannonball Adderley Quintet in San Francisco, its breakout soul-jazz album. Nat's leadership dates Much Brass (March 1959) and Work Song (January 1960) were receiving critical acclaim when That's Right! was recorded.
Riverside producer Orrin Keepnews wrote about Nat in The View From Within—Jazz Writings 1948-1987, Orrin's 1988 collection of jazz essays:
"Probably one of the elements that kept the [Adderley] brothers functioning so well together was that they kept a pretty large degree of separateness in their recording careers. Most of Cannon's nonworking-group albums did not include Nat; and only on special occasions was Julian allowed to take part in one of the younger Adderley's studio concoctions.
"When Nat and I got around to the idea of backing him up with just a full saxophone section, it would have been carrying things a bit too far to use someone else on lead alto. So Cannon [pictured] was permitted to play, but it remained important not to let the record seem in any way to be leaning on big (and by now big-selling) brother. So you'll find exactly one alto solo on the album that we called That's Right!"
Supporting the reeds was a highly flexible rhythm section of Wynton Kelly (piano), Jim Hall (guitar), Sam Jones (bass) and Jimmy Cobb (drums). The challenge on an album like this is for the arranger to write so the reeds function as a single-sound unit that also competes ambitiously with the lead soloist, in this case Nat Adderley. The result by Jimmy Heath was a joyous work of bold strokes and a hot core.
The album opens with The Old Country, a Nat Adderley original based on an Israeli folk tune. It showcases the big bark of the reeds and Lateef on flute. Chordnation by Jimmy Heath kicks off with a hard bop line and upbeat Dameron harmonies. There are two standards—The Folks Who Live on the Hill and You Leave Me Breathless. The latter tune, taken at a medium tempo, is the one on which Cannonball has his lone solo. It's a beaut, especially with Kelly's comping behind Cannonball and Jimmy Cobb's [pictured] tumbling dice of snare and cymbal figures.
But the runaway highpoints of the album are Jimmy Heath's arrangements for two Barry Harris compositions—Tadd and E.S.P. Jimmy gives both a swinging Dameron feel, with an emphasis on the bop side. Dig Jimmy's playful fanfare opening! And catch Jim Hall's delicate Wes Montgomery-like comping and solo on Tadd. The remaining two tracks, Night After Night and That's Right! were arranged by Norman Simmons and Jimmy Jones, respectively.
Nat Adderley- Cornet
Yusef Lateef- Tenor Sax,Flute,Oboe
Sam Jones- Bass
Charlie Rouse,Jimmy Heath- Tenor Sax
Wynton Kelly- Piano
Julian Cannonball Adderley- Alto Sax
Tate Houston- Bariton Sax
Jim Hall,Les Spann- Guitar
Jimmy Cobb- Drums
A1. The Old Country 3:56
A2. Chordnation 6:11
A3. The Folks Who Live On The Hill 4:15
A4. Tadd 4:17
B1. You Leave Me Breathless 4:16
B2. Night After Night 2:29
B3. E.S.P. 3:48
B4. That's Right! 8:44

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