Luther Hughes and the Cannonball-Coltrane Project
The 1959 Cannonball Add-erley Quintet recording that paired him with John Col-trane was a landmark session, one that is revisited in tone and spirit with this repertory/tribute date from Luther Hughes and the Cannonball-Coltrane Project. Thankfully, they don't replay the entire album, and the band draws from sources as diverse as Tadd Dameron, Afro-Latin fare, standards, blues and originals.
Both alto saxophonist Bruce Babad and tenor saxophonist Glenn Cashman are steady, solid soloists, certainly not innovators, but gifted enough that Cashman's solos on "Impressions" and "Trane Remembered" don't rely on bop cliches. Plus, Babad's contributions on "Julian" display plenty of soul and fire. The rhythm section of bassist Hughes, drummer Paul Kreibich and pianists Ed Czach or Tom Ranier also capably handles itself whether doing soul-jazz, bop, blues or samba.
The CD's best cut, and the song that most completely epitomizes Hughes' mission, is "Ball & Trane." It has Babad and Cashman's most furious and accomplished solos, plus outstanding drumming from Kreibich. While they don't quite duplicate the musical magic made during the Adderley-Coltrane summit, Luther Hughes and the Cannonball-Coltrane Project certainly deliver a worthy salute.