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Cannonball Adderley: Phenix

10. Cannonball Adderley: “Work Song” (Phenix; Fantasy, 1975)

Adderley’s populism pushed him into new terrain rather than holding him back: He wasn’t going to let the zeitgeist move on without him. Hence Phenix, his final completed album and arguably final masterpiece, reframes Adderley’s hits and classics within the fusion matrix. Nat’s “Work Song” is the most pleasurable example, putting one of the staples of the hard-bop repertoire into hard funk instead. There’s squiggly electronic effects and rumbling bass, relentless drums and percussion (courtesy of guest star Airto Moreira), and best of all, an alto solo that’s somehow both grimly determined and as exhilarating and high-flying as ever.