The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon

Search Results

Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Nat Adderley, Jr.

Music arranger and pianist Nat Adderley, Jr. was born on May 23, 1955 to Nat Adderley, Sr. and Ann James in Quincy, Florida. Adderley attended the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in Manhattan, New York. In high school, he performed and wrote music for his father’s group, the Cannonball Adderley Quintet. Adderley also worked as a keyboardist for R&B singer Valerie Simpson. Adderley earned his B.A. degree in African American studies from Yale University in 1977.

In 1981, Adderley became the music director for Luther Vandross. Adderley arranged the music for Vandross’ 1981 album, Never Too Much on the songs “Never Too Much” and “Sugar and Spice (I Found Me a Girl).” He then co-wrote the song “Better Love” for Vandross’ 1982 album, Forever, for Always, for Love. In 1984, Adderley arranged “Superstar,” as well as “If Only for One Night” and “Creepin’” for Vandross’ album, The Night I Fell In Love. He co-wrote Vandross’ first top twenty hit, “Stop to Love” and arranged the songs “So Amazing” and “Give Me The Reason” from the album, Give Me The Reason. In 1988, Adderley arranged the songs “I Wonder” and “Love Won’t Let Me Wait” for Vandross’ album, Any Love. The album was nominated for a 1989 Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. Adderley also played keyboard for Vandross’ 1991 Grammy award winning album, Power of Love. He produced Vandross’ albums Your Secret Love, Luther Vandross, and the Grammy award winning album, Dance with My Father. Adderley arranged Vandross’ 2003 Grammy award-winning duet with Beyonce Knowles, “The Closer I Get to You,” which won for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. He then produced the live album, Luther’s Live 2003 at Radio City Music Hall.

In addition to his work with Vandross, Adderley has worked with several other musicians. He arranged the songs for Aretha Franklin’s 1983 album, Jump To It, the string section for Doc Powell’s Grammy nominated song “What’s Going On” and Natalie Cole’s song “When I Fall in Love.” Recordings of Adderley playing piano were used by playwright August Wilson for his play The Piano Lesson in 1990. Adderley later formed the Nat Adderley, Jr. Trio.

Nat Adderley, Jr. was interviewed by The Historymakers on January 19, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.005

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

01/19/2017

Last Name

Adderley

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Occupation
Organizations
Archival Photo 2
First Name

Nat

Birth City, State, Country

Quincy

HM ID

ADD02

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

Islands: Barbados

Favorite Quote

Me and you.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

5/23/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Fish: Redfish, orange roughy, catfish

Short Description

Music arranger and pianist Nat Adderley, Jr. (1955 - ) was the music director and musical arranger for Luther Vandross from 1981 to 2003.

Favorite Color

Black