January 22, 2009


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Nat Adderley, Work Song
Riverside Records, June 3, 2008
Another classic jazz LP from Orrin Keepnews’ stupefying remaster series.

Work Song’s title track has been covered many times since its 1960 unveiling here, including by Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Tennessee Ernie Ford and Bobby Darin. Unlike his older brother, the legendary teacher/musician Cannonball, Nat’s instrument was the cornet, which, when belled, bespeaks torch the way, well, Peggy Lee’s voice did. And torch away his horn does on occasion; the debut appearance of the “Work Song” skulks around in Turkish-cigarette beatnik fashion before the piano of Bobby Timmons takes the lead for a good spread of measures. Hard-bop/soul-jazz wonks are well aware of the full contents, but to bore the interested clueless with details, included here is the Gershwins’ “I’ve Got a Crush on You,” interpreted as a cozy slowbie held in step by Wes Montgomery’s penultimate ’50s-chill guitar chords. My personal favorite is the reading of Timmons’ “Pretty Memory,” with its too-cool cello-and-drums run; it would have served perfectly as the intro theme for an evening news broadcast of the decade. A+EWS