Cornetist Nat Adderley, whose quintet will perform in a free concert at 8:30 tonight at Carter Barron, addressed himself to the state of jazz:

"We never make an awful lot of money -- what we do is play consistently. I think it is the avant-garde nature of the music, from King Oliver to Cecil Taylor, that causes it to be in a perennially unhealthy financial state. But it has to remain creatively in front in order for pop music to have somewhere to go in later years. Of course, we earn far more money in other countries than we do here, so it becomes a matter of playing there in order to subsidize yourself for playing here."

As to that soulful feeling that has long characterized his approach and that of his late brother, Cannonball Adderley, he explains: "We used to come home from our church and stand outside the Tabernacle Baptist Church most Sunday afternoons -- tambourines and trombone and I think they had a blind man playing the piano. We were studying the classical forms in the Episcopal church with its Gregorian chants, and standing in front of the tabernacle church with its 'sanctified' feeling. So we put it all together. We just had a kind of bluesy feeling, I guess."

With Adderley will be alto saxophonist Sonny Fortune, pianist Larry Willis, bassist Walter Booker and drummer Jimmy Cobb. The Washington-based quartet Come Out Swinging will open the concert. Free tickets are available at the box office.