Cannonball: Hiphopulation

Cannonball takes its moniker from the Adderley of that nickname, and its album Hiphopulation features works by Cannonball’s brother, Nat, John Coltrane and Stevie Wonder in among a plethora of originals. That’s Cannonball, in a nutshell: two parts jazz, one part funk and one part anything else it can think of. Check their “Giant Steps,” for example, with its conga-driven theme statement and climactic sequence in which saxophonist Joe Cohen soars and dances while accompanied solely by a didgeridoo. Not every experiment like this works, but once Cannonball forges a groove there’s no dislodging it, and enough experiments succeed that those grooves go a long way. But MCs also dwell in Hiphopulation, and whenever anyone picks up the mike everything else except drums and bass falls away. Unfortunately, the MCs presently under consideration all subscribe to the (questionable) underground credo that complexity equals profundity; consequently, none of them have the flow to keep the momentum going in between band breakouts. Program your CD player to skip the rhymers and you’ll have yourself a (somewhat) explosive listening experience, but those MCs make Hiphopulation something of a dud.