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A Musical Analysis of the Improvisational Bebop Style of Nat Adderley (1955-1964)

Kyle M Granville, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Nathaniel Carlyle Adderley was an American jazz artist active in New York City, Florida and Europe throughout his extensive musical career. A prominent cornet player and composer, Adderley was highly respected by many of his peers in New York City, Florida, as well as all over Europe. He spent a lot of time during his career performing with and composing for many renowned jazz musicians: Horace Silver, Oscar Pettiford, Johnny Griffin, Yusef Lateef and most notably his older brother, Cannonball Adderley. Collaborations with these notable musicians and many others, help cement Nat Adderley a well deserving spot in the jazz trumpet lineage. This research analyzes his improvised solos and compositions to assess what characteristics left such an impression on those who were familiar with Adderley’s work, as well as establish a base for future scholarly writings on his work and life. As this project unfolds, my hope and desire is that more musicians begin to explore the work of Nat Adderley’s bebop language through thematic and motivic improvisation. The idea is to explore the early years of Adderley’s career as he found his own musical voice. This can also be used as an educational tool by introducing young improvisers to a thematic and motivic approach in finding their own voice on the horn. I intend on using this document as part of a larger comprehensive body of work on the playing style of Nat Adderley.

Subject Area

Music|Music history|Musical composition|Musical performances

Recommended Citation

Granville, Kyle M, "A Musical Analysis of the Improvisational Bebop Style of Nat Adderley (1955-1964)" (2020). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI28259064.