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Them Dirty Blues: The CANNONBALL ADDERLEY Quintet

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Nat Adderley (cnt) Julian “Cannonball” Adderley (as) Bobby Timmons (p on Side 1-2,4 and Side 2-2) or Barry Harris (p, other four selections) Sam Jones (b) Louis Hayes (drs)

Reeves Sound Studios, NYC; Feb. 1, 1960 & Ter-Mar Reocrding Studio, Chicago; March 29, 1960


  1. Work Song (5:04) (Nat Adderley)

  2. Dat Dere (5:27) (Bobby Timmons)

  3. Easy Living (4:19) (Robin – Rainger)

  4. Del Sasser (4:38) (Sam Jones)


  1. Jeannine (7:15) (Duke Peason)

  2. Soon(5:32) (George & Ira Gershwin)

  3. Them Dirty Blues (7:10) (Julian Adderley)

   “Them Dirty Blues,” which is CANNONBALL ADDERLEY’s name for the deep-down number that closes this LP, is also a completely apt and highly descriptive title for this second album by Adderley; sensational quintet. For the soulful spirit of the blues – the real, low, wonderfully emotion-stirring, and downright dirty blues that has always been a d always will be the bedrock of jazz – is the basic message of this group. Which is certainly one important reason for the breathtaking surge of popular approval that carried the band, within a few short months after its formation in mid-1959, to a position well up in the front ranks of current jazz.

   To say that this LP equals or perhaps even surpases the group’s first album in excitement, happy warmth, sheer talent, and ‘soul’ is to claim a great deal for it. Because that initial album, recorded very shortly after the band came into existence, proved to be one of the most talked-about, listened-to, fast-selling and enjoyed jazz albums ever. But there need be no hesitation about making the comparison: with the added months of almost constantly working together, the group seems to have become even more close-knit and cohesive, without losing any of the spontaneous fire and drive that characterized their remarkable debut effort.

   The principal guiding force here is of course Julian Adderley – “Cannonball” – the Florida-born alto sax star who, until he launched this quintet, had probably been best known rough his year and a half as a featured member of the Miles Davis Sextet. Cannnobal, in addition to his truly awesome ability as a jazz improvisor, possesses one of the most naturally warm, articulate, and appealing personalities in or out of music. It can be heard in his playing and is, I think, one key to his vast success. (And it has also caused him to become a truly daring innovator among band-leaders: one who in his club appearances, actually talks to the audience, lets them know what is going on, makes them feel welcome, and makes them like him!)

   The fact that Cannonball and the other horn in the group mesh together so wonderfully well cannot be credited entirely to the fact that he and Nat Adderley are brothers (as I’m sure lots of people with brothers will grant). It is rather that they also happen to be soul-brothers, with a musical togetherness that is partly instinctive and partly acquired through long mutual playing an living experience.

   After Cannonball broke up his first group at the end of 1957, Julian and Nat temporarily took separate paths, and Nat’s firm, fervent and increasingly individual cornet style was spotlighted with first J. J. Johnson and later Woody Herman. This turned out to be for Nat a period of rich, remarkable and swift growth and realization of potential. Consequently, when he rejoined Julian in the new quintet there was (as a goodly number of people have learned, and as more are discovering all the time) no longer any danger of his being thought of merely as “the other Adderley,” or of being overshadowed even by the formidable talents of Cannonball.

   Bassist Sam Jones, also a Floridian, has known the brothers closely for many years. He too was in Cannonball’s precious band, and has built a reputation as one of the finest and most solid of rhythm men by his work with such as Thelonious Monk and Dizzy Gillespie. His teammate, Lou Hayes, was for three years Horace Silver’s invaluable anchor man.

   There has of course been one personnel change in the quintet since it got under way. Bobby Timmons, the phenomenally funky pianist whose gospel-tinged This Here was a most important factor in the success of the first album, made the decision early in 1960 to return to Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, the group he had left the year before to be in on the start of the Adderley band. Timmons was on hand for the first session of this LP, in New York, at which Del Sasser, Soon, and his own Dat Dere were recorded. Then came the amicable split, after which Cannoball immediately called upon Barry Harris, the swinging and lyrical Detroit pianist. Barry, who has long been highly touted by the many jazz stars who have come out of that city in recent years, has for just about as long been reluctant to leave Detroit for the rigors of the road. But he answered Cannonball’s call, and proceeded to fit into the situation with startling speed and smoothness (as his work here attests).

   As soon as things had fully jelled, we caught up with the band in Chicago for a final session. Recorded then were Cannonball’s sensitive ballad treatment of the standard Easy Living, and three notable examples of the quintet’s earthy ‘soul’ groove: the loose-limbed title blues; a wonderfully flowing Duke Pearson number called Jeannine; and Nat’s surging masterpiece of funk, Work Song. (The latter tune has also been recorded on Riverside as the title number in the cornetist’s own album featuring Sam Jones on cello and guitarist Wes Montgomery – a strikingly different but equally compelling version.)

   . . . And if these notes suggest that I am somewhat less than objective in my affection for this band, that’s only because that’s exactly the way it is, and has been ever since I first heard them. But if you’ve been listening to them, chances are you feel the same way, too. . . .

   The quintet’s first LP is –

The CANNONBALL ADDELEY Quintet in San Francisco (RLP 12-311; also Stereo RLP 1157)

   CANNONBALL’s other Riverside alums include –

Things Are Getting Better; with Milt Jackson, Art Blakey (RLP 12-286; also Stereo RLP 1128)

Cannonball Takes Charge (RLP 12-303; also Stereo RLP 1148)

Portrait of Cannonball; with Bill Evans, Blue Mitchell (RLP 12-269)

   NAT ADDERLEY heads groups of his own on –

Work Song; with Wes Montgomery (RLP 12-318; also Stereo RLP 1167)

Much Brass; with Wynton Kelly, slide Hampton (RLP 12-301; also Stereo RLP 1143)

Branching Out; with Johnny Griffin, ‘The Three Sounds’ (RLP 12-285)

   BOBBY TIMMONS is featured on –

This Here Is Bobby Timmons (RLP 12-317; also Stereo RLP 1164)

   SAM JONES, playing both bass and cello, leads an all-stars lineup on –

The Soul Society; with Nat Adderley, Blue Mitchell, Bobby Timmons, Jimmy Heath, Louis

   Hayes (RLP 12-324; also Stereo RLP 1172)

(The present recording is also available in Stereophonic form on RLP 1170)


Produced and notes written by ORRIN KEEPNEWS

Cover designed and produced by PAUL BACON-KEN BRAREN-HARRIS LEWINE

Back-liner photographs by LAWRENCE N. SHUSTAK

Recording Engineer: JACK HIGGINS (Reeves Sound Studios; New York) and RON MALO (Ter-Mar Recording Studio; Chicago)

Mastered by JACK MATTHEWS (Components Corp.) on a HYDROFEED lathe.


235 West 46th Street New York 36, N.Y.

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