Jazz Icons Series 3: Cannonball Adderley Live in '63

C. Michael Bailey By

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Cannonball Adderley

Cannonball Adderley Live in '63

Jazz Icons


What is the greatest hard bop jazz standard? Some might argue for Bobby Timmons' "Moanin'" as performed by the composer and Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Others may hold out for Joe Zawinul's "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" or Richard Carpenter's "Walkin'" as perfomed by Miles Davis. Still others are attached to Horace Silver's "The Preacher" while yet another group is equally adamant in its devotion to "The Sidewinder" by Lee Morgan. Well, I place my vote for "Work Song," on which composer-cornetist Nat Adderley incorporates all of the elements of funk, church, soul, gospel, and grease that one could possibly cram into a single hard-bop composition. What a pleasure to see the Cannonball Adderley Sextet in Switzerland and Germany performing the standard at the top of their game in 1963.

Black and white footage (as this release is) is a powerful nostalgic stimulant, prompting those of a certain age (Baby Boomers) to recall the 8mm home movies of their youth not to mention the hip film noir look of 1940s Humphrey Bogart movies. Looking at such footage today is always a moving experience because of the relative youth of the films' subjects. Striking here is Joe Zawinul (31 at the time), whose acoustic chops were fully formed here if not as evolved as they would be in the '70s and beyond, so different from the electric-fusion Austrian sage he would become. Also very dapper is Yusef Lateff, looking every bit the college professor as he played his trademark oboe on the band standard "Trouble in Mind." But that instrument in a jazz role is no less a novelty today as it was then. Lateef's true long coat is his fine flute and tenor saxophone playing, which he displays copiously on this DVD release.

As for the two principals, brothers Julian and Nathaniel show why they were so successful in the hard bop/soul-jazz arena. Their typical performance book contained classics, here represented by two performances each of Nat's "Jive Samba" and Quincy Jones' "Jessica's Day," Oscar Pettiford's "Bohemia After Dark," and Dizzy Gillespie's "Dizzy's Business." Nat Adderley's coronet is sharp and true as is his brother's alto saxophone. Julian Adderley emerged in the wake of the death of Charlie Parker, whose shadow still stretches large over the jazz landscape. Recognition of his talent, while present, was attenuated by Parker's reputation. Julian Adderley was certainly influenced by Parker, but went on to forge a sound that belongs to him alone, as evidenced in these performances.

Tracks: Switzerland 1963: Jessica's Day; Angel Eyes; Jive Samba; Bohemia After Dark; Dizzy's Business; Trouble in Mind; Work Song; Unit 7. Germany 1963: Jessica's Day; Brother John; Jive Samba.

Personnel: Switzerland 1963 and Germany 1963: Cannonball Adderley: alto saxophone; Nat Adderley: coronet; Yusef Lateef: tenor saxophone, flute, oboe; Joe Zawinul: piano; Sam Jones: bass; Louis Hayes: drums.

Production Notes: Black and White. Running time: 99 minutes.

Switzerland 1963: recorded March 24, 1963, Jazz Stars, Lugano, Switzerland liscensed by RTSI.

Germany 1963: recorded March 22, 1963, Jazz - Gehart Und Gesehen, Baden-Baden, West Germany by SWR.

Twenty-four page booklet, liner notes by Olga Adderley-Chandler, John Swzed, and Ira Gitler. Rare photographs and memorabilia collage.

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