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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

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Riverside Profiles

Riverside 0888072301726

1. This Here
2. Dizzy’s Business
3. Nardis
4. Things Are Getting Better
5. Jive Samba
6. Star Eyes
7. African Waltz
8. Know What I Mean?
9. Work Song

Cannonball Adderley – Alto sax
Nat Adderley – Cornet (tracks 1, 2, 5, 7, 9)
Bobby Timmons – Piano (track 1)
Sam Jones – Bass (tracks 1-3, 4-7, 9)
Louis Hayes – Drums (tracks 1, 2, 5, 6, 9)
Yusef Lateef – Tenor sax, flute (tracks 2, 5, 9)
Joe Zawinul - Piano (tracks 2, 5, 9)
Blue Mitchell – Trumpet (track 3)
Bill Evans – Piano (tracks 3, 8)
Philly Joe Jones – Drums (track 3)
Milt Jackson – Vibes (track 4)
Wynton Kelly – Piano (tracks 4, 6, 7)
Percy Heath – Bass (tracks 4, 8)
Art Blakey – Drums (track 4)
Victor Feldman – Vibes (track 6)
George Matthews, Arnett Sparrow, Jimmy Cleveland, Paul Faulise – Trombones (track 7)
Clark Terry, Ernie Royal, Joe Newman – Trumpets (track 7)
George Dorsey – Alto sax, flute (track 7)
Arthur Clarke – Baritone sax (track 7)
Jerome Richardson, Oliver Nelson – Tenor sax, flute (track 7)
Don Butterfield – Tuba (track 7)
Charlie Persip – Drums (track 7)
Michael Olatunji – African drums (track 7)
Ernie Wilkins – Arranger, conductor (track 7)
Connie Kay – Drums (track 8)

"Cannonball Adderley was the most underrated great musician ever", said Joe Zawinul, Adderley’s pianist for most of the 1960s. I’m inclined to agree with Zawinul, as Cannonball has been undervalued by many critics who dismissed him as a populariser or even rabble-rouser without recognising his virtuosity on the saxophone. Certainly Cannonball was a popular artist – and rightly so, for his music was generally exciting (just sample the stimulating performances of Dizzy’s Business and Jive Samba here). But Adderley also developed the bebop innovations of Charlie Parker with an admixture from more lyrical saxists like Benny Carter to create a uniquely accessible style.

Adderley’s greatness is illustrated on this selection of tracks that Cannonball recorded for the Riverside label in the late fifties and early sixties. Personally I prefer some of his later material, like Country Preacher and Mercy, Mercy, Mercy for its sheer vigour, but there is plenty here to enjoy. Several tracks remind us of the searing brilliance of the cornet playing by Cannonball’s brother, Nat – not forgetting his skills as a composer of such tunes as Jive Samba and Work Song.

The collection features Cannonball is a variety of settings – from quartets and quintets to a big band (on the rather portentous African Waltz, where Cannonball is barely audible). The start of Know What I Mean? (with subtle piano from Bill Evans) shows that Adderley could play tender as well as tough, while the following Work Song displays his blues-drenched style before an appreciative Tokyo audience. Here and elsewhere, the rhythm team of Sam Jones and Louis Hayes pushes the music along infectiously.

Cannonball Adderley was great – and here is the proof, on some well-recorded sides.

Tony Augarde


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