Late in 1961, while riding a crest
of soulful success, Cannonball Adderley proceeded to make a good
thing even more so. First he hired an extremely funky young
Austrian pianist named Josef Zawinul, and shortly thereafter he
expanded his group by adding the unique multi-reed talents of
Yusef Lateef. This powerful sextet- also including the original
rhythm team of Sam Jones and Lou Hayes, and what brother Cannon
used to introduce as "our brass section, Nat
Adderley"-is heard here in a notable group of first-time
releases that have survived in secret for two decades. To my ears
they do not show any signs of age.
Newly-discovered performances tend to make any properly cynical
jazz fan a bit suspicious. If they're so good, how come they
weren't issued in the first place? In this case, the answer is
easy: it's primarily because Cannonball was such a large-spirited
and generous man. The band's always-substantial repertoire
intermingled new material with old favorites, and even when-as in
these instances -one important purpose of the gig was recording,
he declined to focus only on tunes intended for the new album.
The in- person customers had their rights, too.
But while the 1963 Tokyo audience loved a sextet performance of
"This Here," it was only three years since the original
recording of that instant soul classic had launched the band like
a rocket. Similarly, Bohemia Mter Dark" was part of that
same first Quintet album, "New Delhi" was on a 1961
Adderley session, and "Never Say Yes" had been recorded
that same year on a Capitol LP with Nancy Wnson. None of these
could even be thought of for issuance at that time.
[Only "Peter and the Goats" (which is Yusef's depiction
of the night a friend got drunk and retinted a small herd with
red paint) was considered and passed over 20 years ago-we had an
excess of material for an album and elected to go with something
else. On recent relistening, this struck me as a definite mistake
in judgment and I'm pleased to be able to belatedly reverse that
Obviously, the old reasons for not issuing have lost their
validity .And, most unfortunately, it's now true that only by
such rediscovery of over looked performances can we ever hear
fresh examples of the joyful artistry of Cannonball Adderley and
of the special kind of jazz spirit that existed around him.Such
things as Nat's buoyant treatment of "Never Say Yes,"
Yusef's unique flute lead on "New Delhi," Zawinul's
super-earthy "This Here" solo-you don't hardly get to
hear this kind of music these days, and that's a shame.
Album produced by ORRIN KEEPNEWS (for
Tape reprocessing, rerecording, remix by Danny Kopelson;
mastering by George Horn, 1982
(Fantasy Studios, Berkeley).
This previously unissued material released by special arrangement
with Nat Adderley and the Estate of Julian Adderley
Art direction-Phil Carroli / Cover photo-Lee Tanner