The two sessions that comprise this reissue were recorded live in Los Angeles at the Lighthouse ('64) and Memory Lane ('62), offering a snapshot of the era's mainstream offerings. Not as well known as Adderley's work with Nancy Wilson, this session is nonetheless a worthy companion.
Eschewing the standards route with the sleek and responsive Adderley quintet, Andrewsin fine voicesings a program of jazz originals, blues ballads and a well-worn warhorse or two. In fact, some songs were in the repertoires of his contemporaries. Check out "Big City" and "I'm Always Drunk in San Francisco" (the former associated with Shirley Horn, the latter with Carmen McRae and Wilson). The swagger and bluesy good times, however, cannot conceal the session's one flaw: a sameness among the songs and in their presentation.
This reservation aside, Andrews projects a joyfulness that is too often missing in some of today's more self-conscious jazz singing. By not trying too hard to be different, he is being just that. The lived-in blues quality of his voice demands attention, and his hard-driving swing fits perfectly with Adderley and his extraordinary band mates: Nat Adderley, Joe Zawinul, Sam Jones and the fiery, impeccable Louis Hayes. Jones is especially missed these days for his fat, woody tone, impeccable note choice and spot-on time. His pithy composition "Del Sasser" becomes "If You Never Fall in Love with Me" in this setting. Zawinul, long before his Weather Report days, is in his element, having worked in a similar setting as Dinah Washington's accompanist.
Cannonball marshals his musicians to offer swinging, riff-based accompaniment that complements Andrews without getting in his way or overpowering him. When band and singer click, the results are bracing. "Bill Bailey," after a leisurely opening chorus, swings for the fences, Andrews subtly nuanced, gospel-blues phrasing leading the way to Cannonball's trilled "Mona Lisa" reference at the start of his short solo spot.
Nat Adderley's jazz classic "Work Song," inexplicably not on the original release, is a definitive performance. Cannonball's unaccompanied, preaching introduction sets the stage for a performance that epitomizes hard-driving soul jazz. It's good to have this session in hand again.
1 Cannoball Adderley's Introduction 0:28
2 Big City 3:19
3 Next Time I See You 3:53
4 I'm Always Drunk in San Francisco 3:20
5 Ten Years of Tears 2:48
6 Bill Bailey 3:07
7 I'm a Born World Shaker 3:28
8 Don't Be Afraid of Love 2:52
9 Since I Fell for You 2:13
10 If You Never Fall in Love With Me 2:55
11 Come On Back 4:18
12 Work Song 4:48
13 Green Door 4:58
Cannonball Adderley: Alto Saxophone;
Nat Adderley: Cornet;
Louis Hayes: Drums;
Sam Jones: Bass;
Joe Zawinul: Piano.