Cannonball Adderley: Caribbean Cutie

The melody of "Caribbean Cutie" is lilting, but after it plays out, the structure of the cut is too conventional to stand out from the crowd. The first few minutes are dedicated to a piano solo mixed much too far in the background, and, once the horn solos kick in, momentum is somewhat clouded under the fact that the limited chord structure and the traditional swing of the rhythm section breaks no new ground. On this track, the horn solos seem perfunctory and uninspired. Nothing about it will remind you of the Caribbean or of female island inhabitants. However, you may enter dreamland soon after it begins, because the six minute running time is much too long to interest anyone. The melody that bookends the nausea-inspiring jams should have been expanded somehow by the performers, because the content here is weak, and, overall, the recording seems originally unintended for release. Spontaneous Combustion is, mostly, a fine display of Cannonball Adderley's genius, but this track is for fanatics only.

April 16, 2009 · 0 comments

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Cannonball Adderley: Spontaneous Combustion

Regardless of its conventionalism, Cannonball Adderley's "Spontaneous Combustion" is a treble-toned display of his early confidence. As he sounds rather youthful, the fact that the basic blues pattern underneath is kept in check allows him the space to blow notes wherever and whenever he feels he should. The freedom of approach shows that his skills as a bandleader and player were already finely attuned at the outset of his career; his lead playing blazes a trail that is audibly tough for the other soloists on the bandstand to follow. The force with which his sax tears through the mix is the aural equivalent of spontaneous combustion, and later recordings would leave this kind of power behind for a more refined approach that helped him achieve commercial recognition later on. Adderley was part-trailblazer, part-showman, and the explosive duality never ceases to amaze.

April 16, 2009 · 0 comments

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