You'd be hard pressed to find a more soulful and swinging group in 1959 than the Cannonball Adderley Quintet. Apparently lots of others thought so too, for the Jazz Workshop in San Francisco, where this live set was recorded, was standing room only, with people who couldn't get into the club lined up outside just to even faintly hear the group. Even Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich came for one night, and was as appreciative as anyone else.
What made the group work as well as it did? For one thing, there were two excellent horns in the front line in altoist Cannonball and his brother, trumpeter Nat, both of whom had honed their chops playing for some of the top musicians around at the time. Also, the rhythm section was the most soulful one out there, and pianist Bobby Timmons, bassist Sam Jones, and drummer Louis Hayes could pull out all the stops in a live performance. But there was also the matter of being in the right place at the right time. The Adderley Quintet was at the forefront of the soul jazz movement, which was just beginning to catch steam, embraced the movement and rode it for all it was worth.
This session was a landmark of sorts in other ways. It started a trend of live recordings in noisy clubs and featured lengthy improvisations where everyone got their due. No ballads here; just a bunch of blowers like Timmons's "This Here, which is surely the funkiest waltz ever written, and Randy Weston's hyper "Hi-Fly, which brought the crowd to a fifteen minute standing ovation.
Throughout we have Cannonball's balls-out playing which darts around the room like a hummingbird, and Nat's brash statements that blast through the changes with amazing force. Timmons is in fine form, taking rhythmic solos that surely had the crowd on their feet. Hayes even gets a drum solo on "You Got It! In addition to the original release, there is an unreleased version of "Straight, No Chaser as well as two alternate takes from another night.
As part of the new Keepnews Collection, this CD features crisp remastered sound and new liner notes from Keepnews himself.
This Here; Spontaneous Combustion; Hi-Fly; You Got It!; Bohemia After Dark; Straight, No Chaser (bonus track); This Here (alternate takebonus track)/ You Got It! (alternate take/bonus track).
Cannonball Adderley: alto saxophone; Nat Adderley: cornet; Bobby Timmons: piano; Sam Jones: double bass; Louis Hayes: drums.