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Anyone who's ever listened to the canon jazz release, Kind of Blue (Columbia, 1959), knows that one of the sweetest sounds ever recorded was that of alto saxophonist, Julian "Cannonball" Adderley. Cannon-Reloaded is a fitting tribute to one of jazz's quiet giants, boasting an all-star lineup in celebration of the late saxophonist's music.
Produced by drummer Gregg Field and Grammy winning saxophonist Tom Scott, (a prolific instrumentalist, arranger, and conductor) the recording boasts a varied mix of fine performers including trumpeter Terence Blanchard, keyboard/pianist George Duke, bassist Marcus Miller, drummer Steve Gadd, and a true jazz diva, songstress Nancy Wilson.
Though Adderley will be forever linked to his work with trumpeter Miles Davis, his legacy is found in his own recordings that were immersed in the bowels of bop, gospel and inner city soul music. The ten selections are clear statements that the sounds of the past can still provide some good vibrations in today's uncertain times.
There's no jiving from this band, starting knee deep in the funk with "Jive Samba" and "Work Song," both written by the saxophonist's brother, trumpeter Nate Adderley. "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" and "Sack O' Woe" were both recorded on Adderley's hit album Mercy, Mercy, Mercy! Live at 'The Club' (EMI,1966). The former, a tremendous cross-over jazz hit written by keyboardist Joe Zawinul and the later composed by Adderley, both reflect his smooth presence and larger than life sound.
The music is soulful and performed with an infectious optimism. Blanchard's trumpet is in impeccable on "I Should Care" and Scott's horn is perfect on another Zawinul tune, "Country Spirit," a ballad with undeniable appeal, as Larry Goldings adds easy B3 organ undertones. "Inside Straight" is hip buoyant tune, Miller throwing down his signature electric bass thumping, Duke some icy electric keyboards, while Gadd provides the rhythmic underpinning and the horns solo bright.
As Scott affirms, Nancy Wilson truly is the "icing on the cake," the singer revisiting two selections ("Save Your Love for Me" and "The Masquerade is Over") from the classic recording Nancy Wilson/Cannonball Adderley (Capitol,1961). Her voice is still sublime, marked by her continuing style and grace.
There have undoubtedly been other dedications to the one and only "Cannonball," but props are in order for Tom Scott's Cannon-Reloaded, a special tribute that will hopefully spark new interest in one of the true great alto saxophonists.
Track Listing: Jive Samba; Work Song; Mercy, Mercy, Mercy; Save Your Love For Me; Sack O' Woe;
Country Preacher; Inside Straight; I Should Care; The Masquerade Is Over; Stars Fell On Alabama.
Personnel: Tom Scott: alto saxophone; Terence Blanchard: trumpet; George Duke: piano, Rhodes and Wurlitzer; Larry
Goldings: B3 organ; Marcus Miller: bass; Steve Gadd: drums; Dave Carpenter: bass (8, 10); Nancy Wilson: vocals (4, 9).