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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, and then spent periods with the groups of J.J. Johnson and Woody Herman before hooking up with Cannonball again in October 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, led his own quintets after Cannonball's death; his most notable sidemen were altoists Sonny Fortune (in the early '80s) and Vincent Herring. Although his own playing declined somewhat -- Adderley's chops no longer had the endurance of his earlier days -- Nat continued recording worthwhile sessions in the years prior to his death on January 2, 2000. Many but not all of his recordings through the years are currently available (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).
Biography entry by Scott Yanow
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