Various_artists-cannon_reloaded_span3
May 2008

Various Artists
Cannon Re-Loaded: An All-Star Celebration of Cannonball Adderley
Concord Records

Once upon a deep, dark mood—Miles’ Kind of Blue, for example—an alto ax-man came calling. His name was Cannonball Adderley, a saxophonist whose exuberant zeal burst through the postbop clutter of the 1950s to create a brand of peppy, happy jazz rimmed eventually by the bubbling husk of R&B and fresh-faced funk. To the letter that all but describes the spunky jive jitter that made up saxophonist Tom Scott’s sound, making Scott a natural to lead the pack of Adderley-ites assembled here.

Perky and percolating? Though Scott doesn’t possess the rotund robustness Adderley had, he certainly doesn’t lack bravura. Along with keyboardist George Duke, drummer Steve Gadd, bassist Marcus Miller and trumpeter Terence Blanchard, Scott gets to the cheery caramel center of the Adderley aesthetic. Along with B3 organ grinder Larry Goldings, the unit brings a sparkle to the eye of the blues-blustery storm “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy,” sissy struts its way through “Jive Samba”, and digs deep the roots of the rhythm underneath “Inside Straight” and “Sack O’ Woe.” Though he makes nice on the richly silken “I Should Care,” anyone looking for Blanchard’s usual gracefulness can listen elsewhere as he and Scott toot hard and blousy-like throughout the rickety “Country Preacher” and the howling “Work Song.”

And what would be a better celebration of all the pomp and circumstance that was Adderley than to relive one of his premier moments, 1961’s Nancy Wilson/Cannonball Adderley? The still-hungry vocalist may sound a little rusted, but she makes her takes on “This Masquerade is Over” and “Save Your Love for Me” humbly majestic.

Originally published in May 2008
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