Thursday, August 8, 2013

Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley

   One of greatest saxophonists in 50’s and 60’s, Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley (1928-1975) was in the very narrow group of artists creating modern jazz improvising methods, taking part in extraordinary ensembles and recordings inspiring other artists. Although he was one of most creative musicians, in opinions of many he remained in a second row of avant-garde – known and remembered mostly as a contributor and collaborator in genius of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. This unjust rating comes probably from the fact, the first period of ‘Cannonball’ musical development was in Florida, far from biggest centers and mainstream media. Julian and his brother Nat were living in Tallahassee, where they were playing with Ray Charles in early 40’s. Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley was very popular in Florida – not only by nickname, which originally was “cannibal” for his unbridled appetite – but this fame has no impact in New York.
   The time Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley came to Big Apple, ten years after the end of the war New York was the scene of dynamic cultural changes. Also in jazz, be-bop was evolved to cool and hard bop, and later into free jazz in different variants. While others were establishing new directions and styles, the same time many musicians were still developing traditional swinging style with subtle new harmonic and rhythmic improvements. And as these styles were continuation of be-bop, the stream was created mainly by musicians who were known for their earlier cooperation with Parker and Gillespie – with the stress on the word “known”. The musical scene was pretty crowded and that’s the only reason quintets led by Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley never achieved the success they deserved.

Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley

   In series of Everest Records Archive of Folk and Jazz Music, aiming to publish authentic performances from 78 r.p.m. discs, there was one compilation album of Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley. It’s generally poor edited, giving some misinforming notes about whole series, even artist’s name is misspelled in the title and on the ridge of the sleeve. In linear notes it has the correct form. The program of the album is compilation of two late 50’s recordings. Four pieces out of five came from 1959 album Cannonball Adderley Quintet in Chicago. Opening piece Wabash is taken from February 1959 session with John Coltrane, Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers and Jimmy Cobb. Complete album was released by Mercury as Cannonball Adderley Quintet in Chicago. Next is perfectly different The Tune of the Hickory Stick – the last piece on Jump for Joy album released by EmArcy in 1958. Closing the A-side You’re a Weaver of Dreams and two pieces of B-side (Stars Fell on Alabama and The Sleeper) are taken again from album of Cannonball Adderley Quintet recordings of 1959.
   The one exceptional recording in this choice is The Tune of the Hickory Stick, recorded in August 1958 with Emmett Berry on trumpet, Bill Evans on piano, Milt Hinton on bass and Jimmy Cobb on drums. Ambitious arrangement for strings, guitar and jazz quintet by Bill Russo is a kind of link between cool jazz experiments and popular jazz traditions. While this composition is a kind of refreshing moment, other four pieces are classic presentations of hard bop style. Perfect solos by leader, John Coltrane, Wynton Kelly and Paul Chambers can be seen as a clear expression of modern jazz ideas. Two pieces are recorded in quartet with solo saxophone: in Stars Fell on Alabama Adderley and in You’re a Weaver of Dreams Coltrane only. Closing this record John Coltrane’s The Sleeper is a symbolic point of these two artists were together, later every one was continuing his own voyage. The music deserves five stars but considering poor level of edition the record is two and half star only. 

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