SOMERVILLE, NJ – Nat Adderley Jr., best known for his work with Luther Vandross, will headline the closing night of the three-day Central Jersey Jazz Festival Sunday, Sept. 15 from 4:45-6 p.m. on the East Main Street stage adjacent to the green surrounding the historic Somerset County Courthouse.
Opening the 5-hour concert will be tenor saxaphonist Javon Jackson (1:30-2:40 p.m.), followed by vocalist Brianna Thomas, (3:05-4:15 p.m.) The NJ PAC Jazz for Teens ensemble will perform between sets.
The Somerville date is produced and hosted by the Downtown Somerville Alliance and Arts on Division, along with Sheila E. Anderson, author and on-air personality of WBGO, Jazz 88.3.
Adderley wrote (and arranged) Luther’s first top 20 pop hit, “Stop to Love”, and some other important Luther songs, including “Wait for Love” and the Grammy-nominated “Give me the Reason”. Nat also arranged many of Luther’s most popular records, including “Superstar,” “Here and Now,” “If Only for One Night,” “Creepin’,” “If This World Were Mine”, “So Amazing,” “There’s Nothing Better Than Love,” “Never Too Much.” and “Love Won’t Let Me Wait.”
More recently, Adderley produced tracks on the last seven Vandross studio albums. These include “My Favorite Things,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Going Out of My Head,” “Knocks Me Off My Feet” and “The Closer I Get To You,” a duet with Beyonce Knowles.
That track also appears on Beyonce’s album Dangerously in Love, and it won the Grammy in 2004 for best R&B performance by a duo or group. In 2003, Adderley produced Luther’s Live 2003 at Radio City Music Hall. Adderley was Luther’s musical director from 1981 until his death.
Many other artists have had major successes with help from Adderley. He wrote “The Wave” for Kirk Whalum, arranged Natalie Cole’s 1987 hit recording of “When I Fall In Love,” produced “Just Another Lonely Night” for Johnny Gill, arranged most of Aretha Franklin’s album Jump To It, produced Gloria Lynne’s album No Detour Ahead, and did the string arrangement for Doc Powell’s Grammy-nominated version of “What’s Going On.”
Jackson is not one to be pigeonholed as he swings hard no matter it if funk, soul or hard bop. He came into international prominence touring and recording with the legendary drummer Art Blakey as a member of his band, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.
Symbolizing a new generation of musicians that blended tradition with neo-jazz, Jackson went on to release 14 recordings as a band leader and tour and record over 135 CDs with jazz greats including Elvin Jones, Freddie Hubbard, Charlie Haden, Betty Carter, Cedar Walton, Ron Carter, Donald Byrd, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Richard Davis, Bobby Hutcherson, Curtis Fuller, JoAnne Brackeen, Stanley Turrentine, and Ben E. King. His most recent, For You! (Solid Jackson Records), features Jeremy Minasia (piano), David Williams (bass) and McClenty Hunter (drums).
Thomas was born and raised in Peoria, IL where she first cut her teeth as a performer.
First taught and influenced by her father, a drummer and vocalist, Charlie Thomas, Brianna comes from a rich background of diverse musical influences.
She moved to NYC in 2007 to attend college at The New School University and has since established herself as a talented vocalist on the scene today. Since graduating in 2011 She has performed with jazz greats Wycliffe Gordon, Wynton Marsalis, Russell Malone, The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra and longtime hero Dianne Reeves.
Thomas has also performed nationally and Internationally ranging from the "Women In Jazz Festival" at Jazz At Lincoln Center to the prestigious Montreaux, Umbria, Bern and Sochi Jazz Festivals.
Brianna released her debut album You Must Believe In Love in 2014 on Sound On Purpose Records. The best illustration of Ms. Thomas is given by the words of legendary trombonist and Jazz Messengers Curtis Fuller: "a marvelous new artist who has all it takes to reach the top of the jazz profession and music in general."
The concert will be performed rain or shine. In the event of extreme weather conditions, notification of any changes will be made by 5 p.m. the day prior to the concert on the website (centraljerseyjazz festival.com) and Facebook.
The performance is free. Those attending must supply their own chairs. Food vendors will be set up adjacent to the seating area..
Artists will sell and autograph copies of their CDs after all performances.
The three-day Central Jersey Jazz Fest also includes performances in Flemington on Sept. 13 and New Brunswick Sept. 14.