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Cannonball Adderley: Cannonball Adderley’s Greatest Hits

As Hendrix is to acid-funk, late alto sax legend Cannonball Adderley is to jazz funk; any discussion of the subject will lead back to him eventually. ‘Ball, in a lot of ways (to borrow a hip phrase) represented for the funk. His chops and imagination were beyond question, but what really separated him from the legions of Bird imitators was his unerring feel for the gospel and blues tradition, a grasp of which generally separated the true jazzers from the folks who were merely adding syncopation to Debussy (still does, actually). Cannonball Adderley’s Greatest Hits (Milestone, MCD. 9275-2, 68:04) is missing some of the most recognizable nuggets in Adderley’s deep fried-n-sanctified bop catalog: you’ll have to look elsewhere for lowdown nuggets like “Why am I Treated So Bad?” and “Mercy Mercy Mercy”. But Bobby Timmons’ blues waltz gem, “Dis Here,” cornetist brother Nat Adderley’s “Work Song” as well as “Jive Samba” and “Sack O’ Woe,” more than make up for the omissions. And with the added bonus of Adderley’s pre-tune monologues (check his definition of “soul” in the one that precedes the disc-opening “Dis Here”), you’d have to be a permanent-pressed square to raise even a peep in objection.

Originally Published