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The 1957 Newport Jazz Festival must have been hopping; this is the second reissue in a year to pair two performances from that event (Verve released a Cecil Taylor/ Gigi Gryce & Donald Byrd set as part of their mini-LP series). The first performance comes courtesy of Cannonball Adderley, who had yet to make a name for himself; it was a later tenure with Miles Davis that gave him the celebrity he deserved. His quintet, which features brother Nat on trumpet, comes roaring out of the gate with something to prove, playing a half-dozen over-caffeinated hard bop tunes. Both Adderleys favor blistering runs in the upper register and one can assume that they were hyped up from playing in front of such a large crowd. In this short set, Adderley established graceful dexterity on tunes like “A Foggy Day” that would prove to be his calling card later on. A thoroughly enjoyable set.
In 1957 George Shearing was already a star, yet he starts off as if he’s trying to keep up with the greenhorns that came before him; at the end of “Pawn Ticket” he’s out of breath as he introduces the next number. He then quickly settles in to the mid-tempo grooves that are more his style. “It Never Entered My Mind” is simply lovely (as Shearing says, it’s suited for a more intimate crowd) and the other tunes quickly establish a cool, graceful bounce. Shearing, however, is still capable of stoking the fire; his quintet is joined by the Adderley brothers on an appropriately titled “Soul Station” and “Nothin’ But the Best” features a hot-blooded Latin groove with the assistance of Armando Peraza on congas. The sound on both sets is very well-defined, especially for a live recording; the only problem is that Thielemans is miked too low and gets buried in the mix. The Newport sets were a perfect length to pair up in this fashion; let’s hope there’s more to come.
Track Listing: 1. Wee Dot 2. A Foggy Day 3. Sermonette 4. Sam's Tune 5. Hurricane
Connie 6. Pawn Ticket 7. It Never Entered My Mind 8. There Will Never
Be Another You 9. Soul Station 10. Old Devil Moon 11. Nothin' But The
Personnel: On #1-5: Cannonball Adderley-alto sax; Nat Adderley-trumpet; Junior
Mance-piano; Sam Jones-bass; Jimmy Cobb-drums. On #6-11: George
Shearing-piano; Emil Richards-vibes, percussion; Toots
Thielemans-guitar; Al McKibbon-bass; Percy Brice-drums.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.