FAME Jazz Band Program — Artistic Directors

Nat Adderley Jr.

Artistic Director

Nat Adderley Jr. is best known for his work with Luther Vandross. Nat 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, Nat 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, Nat produced Luther’s Live 2003 at Radio City Music Hall. Nat was Luther’s musical director from 1981 until his death.

Many other artists have had major successes with help from Nat Adderley Jr. Nat 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”.   Nat, of course, played piano (and/or keyboards) on all the above mentioned recordings, and many many more. Also, all the piano heard in the Broadway production of August Wilson’s Piano Lesson was on tape and was played by Nat Adderley Jr.

More recently, Nat has been performing in jazz clubs and festivals in Asia, Europe and California with saxman Tom Scott, and in the New York area with other artists and with his own trio.  Nat received his BA from Yale University in 1978.

Dr. Clarence E Knight, Jr.

Associate Artistic Director

Dr. Clarence E. Knight, Jr., former Chair and Professor of Music, Department of Fine and Performing Arts, Bowie State University. His tenure at Bowie State included such contributions as: The father of the now “Symphony of Soul” Band Program; Starting the Music Technology program through a Title III Grant; Providing the vision and direction for the “NEW” Fine and Performing Arts Building that was completed in January 2012 and the redesigning of the Fine and Performing Arts Department into its present configuration. Dr. Knight is also a professional musician that has a wealth of experience in musical theater, recordings, and performances with a number of luminaries such as Gladys Knight, Lena Horne, Pearl Bailey, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Jackson Five, and many others. He is also the leader of his own band and orchestra that has performed at the Congressional Black Caucus Awards Dinner (over 10 years), Presidential Inaugurations’ (5), Weddings, Dances, and many other engagements. His experience spans over five decades. His initial experience started while attending The School of Music at Howard University where he performed as the lead alto saxophone player under the direction of “Rick” Henderson at the famed Howard Theater in Washington DC.

Dr. Knight is also owner of CLARENCE E KNIGHT PRODUCTIONS, a musical contracting business that has contracted musicians throughout the United States backing up some of the leading Acts in the Country. His contracting also included Musical Theater at The Warner Theater in Washington DC and other theaters in Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, and Boston; He was the first African American leader of a Jazz Band in the National Football League (Leader of the Jazz Band for the Washington Redskins for 15 years) and other major venues both locally and nationally.

He holds the Bachelor of Music Education and Masters of Music Education degrees from Howard University and the Ed. D. in Educational Administration Degree from The George Washington University.

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