Collector’s Corner

Nat's Right!


That's Right! (Original Jazz Classics, 1993), from Concord's digital catalog, presents composer and cornet player Nat Adderley fronting one of the largest ensembles he ever played with: The Big Sax Section, which glides along a rhythm machine that includes pianist Wynton Kelly (and, sometimes, guitarist Jim Hall) and features saxophonists Yusef Lateef (also on flute and oboe), Monk favorite Charlie Rouse, Nat's big brother Cannonball Adderley and Jimmy Heath, who arranged all the music.

After warming up in "The Old Country," Adderley blows through "Chordnation" as brisk and bright as cornet master Clark Terry. Lateef's oboe mysteriously opens "Night After Night," a brief but thoroughly evocative soundscape of oboe and cornet. Adderley and Lateef sing bright but somber songs of "The Folks on the Hill" that clearly show why they are among the best cornet and flute players in modern jazz history.

The title opus begins with Nat's cornet creeping out softly upon piano and drums while the horn section purrs sleepy support, a purr that becomes a more forceful growl as the sax soloists step out and swing.  Although Hall appears only twice, his guitar keeps Wayne Shorter's shimmering "E.S.P" vibrant and dynamic, and pours a sophisticated new flavor into "Tadd."

That's Right! may not completely match Nat's most famous and enduring Riverside title, Work Song (Keepnews Collection, 2008) with its "Sack O' Woe" and industrious title track. But it comes admirably close -- closer than somebody who's merely "someone else's little brother" could ever come.