CANNONBALL ADDERLEY and the Poll-Winners
Featuring RAY BROWN, WES MONTGOMERY
Julian “Cannonball” Adderley (as) Wes Montgomery (g) Victor Feldman (vib, p) Ray Brown (b) Louis Hayes (drs)
Side 1 recorded in Los Angeles; June 5, 1960
Side 2 recorded in San Francisco; May 21, 1960
Au Privave (4:49) (Charlie Parker)
Your Is My Heart Alone (6:02) (Franz Lehar)
Never Will I Marry (8:30) (Frank Loesser)
The Chant (6:34) (Victor Feldman)
Lolita (8:03) (Barry Harris)
Azule Serape (6:26) (Victor Feldman)
This notable gathering of major jazz talents came into being – as such things are apt to do – in rather unpremeditated fashion. It was basically the result of seizing a golden opportunity to bring together some highly compatible major jazz artists who do not normally find themselves in the same place at the same time.
In the Spring of 1960, CANNONBALL ADDERLEY had brought his quintet back to San Francisco for a return engagement at The Jazz album. The city’s other main jazz club, The Blackhawk, was then presenting the Oscar Peterson Trio, which happens to include that giant among modern bassists, RAY BROWN. And just across the bay in Oakland was WES MONTGOMERY, who had come West to join his brothers in forming a new group.
To Cannonball, who had for some time been hoping to record with Ray, the added presence of the remarkable guitarist created a total situation too intriguing to be ignored. So the three came together, along with British-born pianist-vibist Victor Feldman and Adderley drummer Louis Hayes, in a large and acoustically fortunate side-street meeting hall, for the first half of this album.
Feldman, incidentally, had been called up from Los Angeles largely on the strength of his merits on vibes. For in view of the emphasis to be placed on guitar and bass. Adderley had felt that instrument would most suitably round out the unusual musical coloration. Then Vic sat down at the piano to run through a new tune of his. The Chant – and all of us were immediately aware that a whole lot of hip people on the West Coast had apparently been asleep for the past couple of years. Certainly there had been no words of warning to lead any of us to expect what we were hearing; a genuinely soulful (in the very best sense of that hard-worked word), and immensely swinging, playing and composing talent. (When, some months later, Cannonball asked Vic to fill a piano vacancy in the Adderley Quintet; it was the end-product of a train of thought that had begun at this moment.)
Further buoyed up by this incident, the group romped though the two Feldman tunes and one Barry Harris original that make up Side 2. Two weeks later, when both Cannonball and Ray were working in Los Angeles, the five men reassembled at Union Recording Studios, there and cut the Charlie Parker selection; the unlikely and mightily swinging version of Lehar’s Yours Is My Heart Alone; and the Frank Loesser show-tune ballad.
There is not much point in going into details about the performances here. Ray Brown is just about every musician’s and almost everyone else’s favorite bassists. West Montgomery has had a swift and amazing impact on the jazz world with a brilliant guitar style that represents the first major revolution on this instrument since Charlie Christina freed it from its solely-rhythmic chores. Cannonball Adderley’s simultaneously soaring and earthy and wonderfully vital alto has of late sky-rocketed him to the top. Suffice to say that all three, more than happy to be working together, and booted by Feldman and the impressively surging drumming of Lou Hayes, are fully up to their potentials here.
As 1960 moved along, it became increasingly clear that if we had happened to put it to a vote in advance, the jazz world as a whole would have heartily approved the bringing together of Cannon, Ray and Wes. Ray Brown, of course, wins the major polls year after year. But, after a gradual climb in previous years, Adderley suddenly spurted out in front among altoists’ and by now his mantelpiece, if he had one, would be piled with plaques from Down Beat, Metronome, Jet, Playboy, and so on. Most surprisingly, considering how cautiously jazz-public opinion usually moves, not only was West Montgomery (whose very first Riverside LP had only been released in December of 1959) voted a new star in the 1960 Down Beat Critics Poll and named most promising jazz instrumentalist of the year in a Billboard poll of jazz disc jockeys and A & R men, but he also soared to second place in the Down Beat readers’ voting and actually won top guitar honors in the Metronome readers’ ballotting!
Thus this record can be considered first a uniquely happy and fortuitous crossing of the paths of three major artists, and secondly a conclave of “poll-winners” – but definitely both these things, and decidedly and album to be reckoned with.
Other notable LPs musicians featured here include –
CANNONBALL ADDERLEY Quintet in San Francisco (RLP 311; Stereo RLP 1157)
CANNONBALL ADDERLEY Quintet at The Lighthouse (RLP 344; Stereo RLP 9344)
Movin’ along: WES MONTGOMERY (RLP 342; Stereo RLP 9342)
Merry Olde Soul: VICTOR FELDMAN (RLP 366; Stereo 9366)
(The present recording is also available in Stereophonic form on RLP 9355)
Produced and notes written by ORRIN KEEPNEWS
Cover designed by KEN DEARDOFF
Back-liner photos by JERRY STOLL (Montgomery photo by Lawrence Shustak)
Recording Engineer: WALLY HEIDER,
Mastered by JACK MATTHEWS (Components Corp.) on a HYDROFEED lathe.
RIVERSIDE RECORDS are produced by BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS, Inc.
235 West 46th Street New York 36, New York