|Recording Date 26 March 1992,
jazzclub Subway, Cologne, Germany.
This set opens dramatically with a reading of "Work Song", Nats great contribution to American popular music and jazz. The composer is fond of introducing it as his favorite song, because it's the one he made the most money from! The tune has been recorded countless times, both instrumentally and vocally with the lyrics written by Oscar Brown Jr. Vincent Herring has first say on this version, firing up a typically scorching solo. Nat's up next, starting off fleetly and then taking his sound down and dirty as only he does. Rob Bargard follows with a two fisted outing, opening things up for the great bassist Walter Booker's exciting workout to bring everybody back home. Cannonball Adderley recorded pianist-vibist Victor Feidman's "The Chant" on The Poll Winners album with Wes Montgomery and Ray Brown, but to my knowledge it was never recorded by the quintet with Nat on record. This lively version is a fine addition to the cornetist's discography. "Plum Street" is a relatively recent composition by the leader, first recorded on his Talkin' About You disc. The band is burnin' on this one, particularly the rhythm section. Drummer Jimmy Cobb gets to show off his stuff with some tours and a strong solo. Vincent Herring is featured on "Almost Always", a beautiful ballad that spotlights both his sensitive side and growing skill as a composer. Bargard plays a pretty solo showing that he too has a tender touch.
"The Big J" is another new Nat tune, first recorded on his Night In Manhattan compact disc. It's a funky tune reminiscent of "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy", played over Bookers groovin' slow bassline. The J. ,by the way, is short for Jacksonville, Florida where things are relaxed.
The set ends with an abbreviated rendition of "The Scene", Nat's regular break tune, you can hear the audience's appreciation for each band member's hard labor. And you can hear Nat telling them to hang around, it's just an intermission. Fortunately, the engineers did, so soon we'll all be able to hear volume two, another set of the Nat Adderley Quintet playing, that is: workin'.
Russ Musto - .30 July 1993