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A group setting itself up as a legacy band runs the risk of unfair comparison with the original, particularly when the bulk of the material happens to be widely known music from the justly famed Cannonball Adderley combo. Although drummer/leader Louis Hayes worked for the alto saxophonist for six years and helped create some of the best-loved music in the Adderley canon, he is not immune to such comparison.
It's not that Maximum Firepower is a bad recording, but comparing such tracks as "Jessica's Birthday," "This Here," "Little Boy With the Sad Eyes" and "Sack O' Woe" to the classic Adderley versions has clear and inherent dangers. Alto saxophonist Vincent Herring, also this album's producer, has been compared to Adderley with good reason since he entered the scene. Although his sound shows less of the Cannonball tonal edge now, one finds it difficult to say that he's become his own man.
Cornetist/flugelhornist/trumpeter Jeremy Pelt isn't likely to be confused with Adderley's brother Nat, but he has been heard to better advantage in other circumstances. Anthony Wonsey and Rick Germanson each have the piano chair for five tracks and bassist Richie Goods rounds out this group.
The exuberant joy and togetherness of Adderley's groups back in the day hasn't been captured by this 2006 recording, but it remains an okay effort. Perhaps honoring the great man with more original materialonly Pelt's "The Two of Them (Dedicated to Cannonball and Nat)" is newwould better capture the spirit found in the classic recordings, but that would largely negate the reason for doing this session. Maybe the best suggestion is to check out this CD as inspiration to investigate the originals.
Track Listing: Jessica's Birthday; This Here; Lisa; Little Boy With the Sad Eyes; The Two of Them (Dedicated to Cannonball and Nat); Sweet Georgia Bright; New Delhi; Sack O' Woe; Autumn Leaves; Unit 7.
Personnel: Louis Hayes: drums; Jeremy Pelt: trumpet, cornet, flugelhorn; Vincent Herring: alto saxophone; Rick Germanson: piano (tracks 1, 4, 6, 8, 9); Anthony Wonsey: piano (tracks 2, 3, 5, 7, 10); Richie Goods: bass.