Cannonball Adderley: Waltz For Debby
Waltz For Debby
Cannonball Adderley (alto sax)
Know What I Mean? (Original Jazz Classics 105)
Composed by Bill Evans.
Recorded: New York, March 13, 1961
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
The transitional Know What I Mean? is too often overlooked when assessing the résumés of Cannonball Adderley and his pianist on this session, Bill Evans. At the time, Adderley was enjoying the breakthrough success of his quintet with brother Nat, and Evans was leading his most famous and influential trio with Scott LaFaro and Paul Motian. Evans's initial, brief rendition of his tune "Waltz for Debby" came in 1956, and he would record it for the third time, definitively, live at the Village Vanguard with his trio in June 1961. What makes this interim version, created just three months earlier, additionally intriguing is the unexpected rhythm team of the Modern Jazz Quartet's Percy Heath and Connie Kay.
Evans lovingly plays his hypnotic theme with a rich and ringing tone, before Adderley contributes his own reading. Adderley sounds unusually prim, refined and proper, at least until he begins his solo, at which point he quickly reveals his more bluesy and soulful side, combined with technical polish, lucid lyricism and irresistible warmth. Evans follows only too briefly, as Adderley regrettably reprises the theme before the pianist can fully develop any ideas. As for Heath and Kay, they more than adequately complement Adderley and Evans, with Kay in particular supplying a very becoming and propulsive rhythmic framework. Adderley and Evans had come a long way since appearing together on Miles Davis's Kind of Blue two years before, and it could be that each was just hitting his stride at the time this track was recorded.
Reviewer: Scott Albin