Friday, November 13, 2020

Virtual Jazz Social: Nat Adderley, Jr.

Virtual Jazz Social : Nat Adderley, Jr.

Sunday, November 15, @ 4pm

Nat Adderley, Jr. spent 25 years as the Music Director for rhythm & blues singer Luther Vandross, but after Vandross passed away in 2005, Adderley returned to his jazz roots.

Those roots will be on display Sunday, November 15, when Adderley and some special guests present a New Jersey Jazz Society Virtual Social from Adderley’s home in West Orange, NJ. The November 15 Social will be performed from 4-5 p.m. and can be viewed on the NJ Jazz Society Facebook page (NJJS).

“My piano,” Adderley, Jr. said, “is in my living room, and the acoustics are real good. I’ll be doing some standards and some jazz – Cannonball [his uncle], Coltrane, Miles for sure, Herbie [Hancock] for sure. I’ll also be performing some Luther Vandross music.” His guests will be: tenor saxophonist Mike Lee and trumpeter James Gibbs III. 

Lee and Adderley were together in one of the last indoor live club performances before the pandemic. In late January, they played at Tavern on George in New Brunswick, part of the New Brunswick Jazz Project’s weekly live music series. With Chris Berger on bass and Vince Ector on drums, they did some Cannonball – “74 Miles Away”, the title track of a 1967 Capitol Records album; Duke Pearson’s “Jeanine” from Them Dirty Blues, a 1960 Cannonball album on the Riverside label; and “Big P,” a tune tenor saxophonist Jimmy Heath introduced on his 1960 Decca/Riverside album, Really Big! That album featured Cannonball and Nat’s father, Nat Adderley, on cornet, as well as Clark Terry on flugelhorn. The quartet also played Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s “The Look of Love,” and Adderley hinted that the November Social might also include one selection from that songwriting team.

Gibbs was discovered by the late jazz vocalist Betty Carter when he was playing at a WBGO-FM gala at New York’s Five Spot jazz club in 1994. He often tours with eight-time Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Joe Thomas and has appeared with a long list of jazz luminaries including bassist Rufus Reid, and pianists Kenny Drew, Jr, and Cyrus Chestnut.

Since Covid-19 shut down traditional indoor live performances, Adderley has appeared outside at Tavern on George, Shanghai Jazz in Madison, Regina’s (a steakhouse in Teaneck), and in South Orange “where they blocked out a parking lot.” He also did a duo online concert with vocalist Alyson Williams, a tribute to the late singer Phyllis Hyman. It was part of the virtual Harlem Week Festival in August. 

NJJS presented two Virtual Jazz Socials on the NJJS Facebook page in October. On Sunday, October 18,  guitarist Charlie Apicella and his band, Iron City, presented a concert from Lavallette, NJ, featuring Apicella originals along with some hard bop and blues standards associated with jazz legends such as organist Brother Jack McDuff and tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley. The Iron City Social was rebroadcast on Sunday, November 1.

On Thursday, October 29, two Juilliard Jazz students, trumpeter James Haddad and pianist Joe Block, presented an online concert that also featured a mix of their original compositions with tunes closely associated with jazz giants such as Roy Hargrove and Thelonius Monk. A highlight of the concert was their performance of Cannonball Adderley’s “The Old Country” from the classic 1962 Nancy Wilson Cannonball Adderley Capitol album.  Then they finished up with another classic, George Gershwin’s “Embraceable You.”

Funding for the NJJS Socials has been made possible in part by Morris Arts through the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding has been provided through a generous grant from Nan Hughes Poole.