Cannonball Adderley: Bohemia After Dark

Cannonball Adderley's "Bohemia After Dark" is one snazzy tune. Free-flowing in its conception, the track kicks off and ends with very strong unison horn work by the brothers Adderley and some excellent backing by the rhythm section. Nat solos first, and, while it takes him a few bars to fully get it together, his cornet significantly sounds as strong as it would on many of the later Cannonball classics that he penned.

There is an old-time feel to the recording, as many of the rough edges that characterized analog recordings of the era exist, but, for the most part, the recording has been cleaned up enough for those same edges to add a certain tonal character. Cannonball's own solo is as explosive as spontaneous combustions can be, and, as the rest of the ensemble contributes snappy solos, the main melody returns to provide the cut with a definite rousing finality that befits the improvisations it buffered. The track is killer, the concept of loose jazz swinging freely in the dark atmosphere of a cocktail lounge is effective, and the music's boundaries are open enough for the track to be considered both a descendant of bop and a forefather of fusion.

March 25, 2009 · 0 comments

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Cannonball Adderley: Still Talkin' To Ya

Cannonball Adderley's "Still Talkin' To Ya" can be considered an authentic blues tune. Its slow burn utilizes the standard 1-4-5 blues pattern, yet the atmosphere is more relaxed i.e. "jazz." Other links are similar between blues recordings from this era and this track, such as the use of acoustic bass, the predominance of acoustic piano, and upfront soloing that uses a great deal of space to its benefit. This particular cut may not be either the most intense nor the most innovative due to its reliance on a heavily treaded musical path, but it has a certain undeniable place in music history.

Around the time of this recording, popular blues artists such as Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, and B.B. King were experimenting with their sound by adding horns to the mix. While the resulting fusion between the minimal orchestration of blues and the brassier, horn driven sounds of jazz was meant to place the two genres on the same level of respectability, here, these players are not concerned with advancing any sort of broad-minded agenda, and the approach is more true to the original, unencumbered spirit of blues than to the more commercialized R&B of such contemporaries as King and Ray Charles.

March 25, 2009 · 0 comments

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Cannonball Adderley: With Apologies To Oscar

"With Apologies to Oscar" is not the most precisely performed track on Cannonball Adderley's Spontaneous Combustion, but, without a doubt, it still entertains. While Cannonball's soloing provides the cut with its highlight, by comparison, his brother's skinflint leads aren't far behind in terms of the talent levels showcased here. On fire, both men cut up the air with spiffy runs and fluid lines that more than apologize for the comparatively weak trumpet solo by a very young and green Donald Byrd, who hadn't reached a significant level of accomplishment at this time.

During the trade-off section that accompanies the drum breaks, the bassiest tones ring out of both saxes regardless of their actual tonality, and the group's overall tightness is amazing. The tempo never fluctuates, and the music continues swinging into infinity amidst the aura of youthful musical mastery. Listeners familiar with later (and more popular) Cannonball recordings will hear both brothers playing signature licks, as the smoothness of the two musicians is incredible even on one of their earliest captured takes. The tune was obviously an important calling card for the performers, as it led to greater recognition and success in the jazz world for most of the contributors.

March 25, 2009 · 0 comments

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Cannonball Adderley: A Little Taste

A mid-tempo cooker, "A Little Taste" commences with a mellow tone and underneath grey skies. Sounding like it was recorded on a rainy day, minor keys provide a dark and foreboding atmosphere that forces the horns to emote through dense clouds. While Cannonball's solo floats high above the rest of the personnel, Nat Adderley mutes his cornet and the tones sound recorded under water. Things smooth out a bit as pianist Hank Jones takes his solo turn; since the cut is driven by Jones' piano and the rhythm section for the most part, they are (unsurprisingly) rendered in more typical fashion. The obvious production techniques employed on the cut are more prevalent on the horns, and this dichotomy provides a bit of tonal confusion. The lack of sonic consistency is somewhat dominant, keeping the track from reaching its true ebb even though it does flow. Unfortunately, the mix sounds a bit watered down for dynamism, but the track is still enjoyable for fans of either the Adderley Brothers or classic jazz cuts recorded alongside such masterpieces of the era as "Round About Midnight," which featured Adderley contemporaries Miles Davis and John Coltrane.

March 25, 2009 · 0 comments

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