CANNONBALL ADDERLEY QUARTET: CANNONBALL TAKES CHARGE
Cannonball Adderley (as) Wynton Kelly (p) Paul Chambers (b) Jimmy Cobb (drs) : A-1,3,4 & B-2
Cannonball Adderley (as) Wynton Kelly (p) Percy Heath (b) Albert Heath (drs) : A-2 B-1,3
NYC; April - May , 1959
1. If This Isn't Love (5:28)
2. Poor Butterfly (5:07)
3. I Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry (5:20)
4. I've told Every Little Star (3:35)
1. Barefoot Sunday Blues (7:00)
2. Serenata (4:12)
3. I Remember You (6:52)
The powerful figure of JULIAN “CANNONBALL” ADDERLEY looms large on the cover of this album. Musically speaking, he looms equally large on the seven numbers that make up the LP, speaking out fluently and forcefully in the highly impressive manner that has led a great many people, including (to single out one example) critic Ralph Gleason, to mark him as “destined to be the new star on alto.”
To put any horn player in the recording studio alone with a rhythm section is to present him with both a considerable challenge and a considerable opportunity. Of course there is a lot more to jazz than how well a man performs with no other horns to lean on. But when you take a seasoned musician, who has been heard in number out other instrumental set-ups, and put him virtually on his own in this way, you are going to get answers to some very basic questions. Primarily, it’s matter of whether he has enough to say, and enough different things; it’s a test of whether or not he has the depth and range of sound, idea and emotion necessary to sustain a full album. IT should hardly be surprising that Cannonball’s performance here turns out to pass this test with flying colors.
For an album such as this stands or falls largely on the quality of the solos, and Adderley is unquestionably one of the most formidably creative of soloists. It is also true that a good deal of his effectiveness and appeal stems from the warm, direct impact and emotional communication of his playing, and this free-blowing LP is admirably suited to demonstrate this.
By a fitting coincidence of timing, this ‘take charge” kind of record has been made just about when Cannonball seems to be coming into his own – to be very definitely taking charge among altoists. Since he first came to New York from Florida in 1955, at the age of 26, Adderley has been on his way to the top. But there have been some detours, largely stemming from the unsolicited advance publicity about his being “another Charlie Parker.” Like his attention-getting nickname (which actually was a phonetic twisting of “Cannonball,” a boyhood reference to his large appetite), that initial reputation was somewhat distorted. No one is likely to be another Parker; calling someone that is, as Cannonball can tell you, an excellent way to make a lot of people anxious to put you down. So Julian spent a couple of years being criticized for not really being “a second Bird” – which he had never either claimed to e nor tried to be. This helped push him into the probably over-pessimistic decision to give up the group he had been leading.
Then, early in 1958, he joined the Miles Davis group as a featured sideman. During the year that followed, he suddenly passed through that mysterious invisible barrier that (sometimes just temporarily, sometimes permanently) separates so many of the most talented jazzmen from major critical and public approval. His efforts, both in person and on his first records for riverside, have been winning considerable applause. Although (like almost all current jazz artists on almost nay instrument) he owes a great debt to Parker’s revolutionary achievements and although, like Bird himself, he is deeply and valuably rooted in the blues, it now seems clearly established that Cannonball is himself, that he is one of the very few modern altos who is not a mere carbon-copy of Parker.
You can now find in print strong evidence of the new critical awareness of his stature: “Cannonball’s growth in the past year has been impressive . . . A player of unusual fluency, he plays with constant fire and conviction” (Nat Hentoff); “gaily turbulent . . . his vigor is infectious” (Wilder Hobson); “enormous gusto . . . expressed in long, looping, tremendously forceful lines” (John S. Wilson); “consistetly rewarding . . . He has now matured into a really impressive soloist with a different conception and a fine, full-boodied sound” (Ralph Gleason).
On this LP, working with two sets of sensitive and well-knit rhythm sections, Adderley displays what all those quotes are referring to. On four selections he is supported by the three highly skilled men with whom he has been playing in Miles’ sextet: Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, and Jimmy Cobb. ON the others, with a slightly different, somewhat funkier end in view, he retains Wynton, but switches to Percy Heath, a most distinguished pioneer-modern bassist and charter member of the Modern Jazz Quartet, and his able young brother, drummer Albert Heath, who has been working with J. J. Johnson.
Although there are several earthy and agile choruses by the always impressive Kelly, and some solo room for each of two of the best bassists in the business, the focus is of course on Cannonball, and the tunes selected are all susceptible to showcasing his long, fluid lines. There are six standards, most of them rarely turned to jazz uses, and one new blues. If This Isn’t Love (which includes a tricky routining of the verse), Every Little Star, and I Remember You (a fresh approach to a song that Bird once did very well by) are all in a rollicking, swinging vein. Hang My Tears Out to Dry is a ballad that intentionally rretains the mood of a Sinatra recording of the number. Poor Butterfly and Serenata are long-limbed and lyrical, with the latter getting much virile beauty out of a Leroy Anderson theme that is usually given the cloyingly lush thousand-strings treatment. The most stretching out is done on the blues, the title of which is not intended as a claim that anuone actually goes barefoot on Sunday. It’s merely that the number is in that combination earthy and church-blues idiom in which Cannonball is so much at home, and the somewhat contradictory title picks up both elements.
A HIGH FIDELITY Recording – Riverside-Reeves
SPECTROSONIC High Fidelity Engineering (Audio Compensation: RIAA Curve)
Produced, and notes written by ORRIN KEEPNEWS
Cover produced and designed by PAUL BACON – KEN BRAREN – HARRIS LEWINE
Back-liner photograph by LAWRENCE N. SHUSTAK
Engineer: JACK HIGGINS (Reeves Sound Studios)
Mastered by JACK MATTHEWS (Components Corp.) on a HYDROFEED lathe.
RIVERSIDE RECORDS are released by BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS, Inc.
553 West 51st Street New York 19, N.Y.