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Domination is a curious curate's egg of an album, not previously available on CD, and some of it bears considerable historical interest. Tracks 1-8, recorded in '65 and originally released as Domination, feature Cannonball and Nat Adderley over big band charts arranged by Oliver Nelson. The twenty-minute closing track, recorded in '70, features the two Adderleys and Joe Zawinul performing Zawinul and William Fischer's early fusion suite "Experience In E" over an almost symphonic orchestra arranged by Fischer. Somewhere along the line, maverick producer David Axelrod plays a part, probably as executive producer.
The Nelson-arranged Domination tracks are a mixed bag. A large part of Nelson's gift was his ability to give new and and surprising makeovers to well-known jazz, pop, and movie themes. Yet none of the eight tunes here were well known in '65, and they remain obscure today. Only Cannonball's "Introduction To A Samba" and Ray Bryant's "Shake A Lady" made it, briefly, into the touring band's book. Nelson's arrangements are typically full-on and gutsy, but they lack the genius shock-of-the-new of his Jimmy Smith sessions. That said, there's some strong soloing from the two brothers, and Cole Porter's "I Worship You" is grand, with lovely solos from Cannonball and Zawinul, the pianist's only one on the album.
All this serves as an enjoyable enough curtain raiser to "Experience In E," originally released as part of the LP Cannonball Adderley Quintet & Orchestra. Cannonball first performed the five-part suite in '69, a few weeks before Zawinul went into the studio with Miles for the In A Silent Way sessions.
Brooding and intense, "Experience In E" is close in concept to early Weather Report, with motifs and broken riffs replacing conventional chord progressions. Cannonball is the featured soloist on parts one and two, Nat is featured on three, and Zawinul on four. All three men play more (Zawinul) or less (the Adderleys) impressionistic solos over Fischer's abstract orchestral backdrops. A gritty, vocalised Cannonball is great on the shades-of-Zulu second section, as is Nat on the Spanish-tinged third. Zawinul's feature is deliciously "Shhh/Peaceful." The fifth and closing section is a more conventional big band romp.
In short, a curio for Cannonball fans, but something of more substantial interest to those interested in Zawinul's trajectory.
Track Listing: Domination; Cyclops; Introduction To A Samba; Shake A Lady; Interlude; Mystified (aka Angel Face); I Worship You; Gon Gong; Experience In E.
Personnel: Tracks 1-8: Cannonball Adderley: alto saxophone; Nat Adderley: cornet, trumpet; Jimmy
Maxwell, Jimmy Nottingham, Clark Terry, Snooky Young: trumpets; Jimmy Cleveland, Willie
Dennis, J.J. Johnson: trombones; Don Butterfield: tuba; Marshal Royal, Phil Woods: alto
saxophones; Budd Johnson: tenor saxophone, clarinet, flute; Bob Ashton: tenor
saxophone, bass clarinet, flute; Danny Bank: baritone saxophone, bass clarinet, flute; Joe
Zawinul: piano; Richard Davis (1,2,7,8), Sam Jones (3-6): bass; Grady Tate (1,2,7,8), Louis
Hayes (3-6): drums; unknown percussion (3,4,6). Arranged & conducted by Oliver Nelson.
Track 9: Cannonball Adderley: alto saxophone; Nat Adderley: cornet; Joe Zawinul: electric
piano; Walter Booker: bass; Roy McCurdy: drums; 42-piece orchestra. Arranged &
conducted by William Fischer.