Recent listening, current

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

77. Nat Adderley / Work Song (1960)

Some corners of hard bop were already getting funky by 1960 but Nat's classic album still sounds ahead of the curve. Selections are like a hard bop stew, highly inspired music expressed in various forms of funkified rhythm and blues, bop, gospel, and truly aching ballad work. Sam Jones makes an impression on me. He slides all over the place and plays his choruses as if he has a guitar sitting on his lap. His doubling on cello and movement to the front line boldly pays big dividends. Wes Montgomery was in on the session, and between these two there's enough bluesy gumption to hold down that part of the fort. This doesn't stop everyone else from contributing, though. The early "Work Song" and Cannonball's "Sack of Woe" are a fine one-two punch, except they're separated by three equally impacting tracks. At times, Adderley breaks the sextet down to a trio or quartet so there's evidence that this group could be effective hitting on all six or with just half its compliment. It's an album with levels that has staying power for a reason, fine music thoroughly worth its salt.

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