Cannonball ADDERLEY – Sophisticated Swing The EmArcy Small Group Sessions 1958

Cannonball ADDERLEY – Sophisticated Swing The EmArcy Small Group Sessions 1958
Recorded between July 12, 1956 and March 6, 1958
1995 Issue.


This fine re-issue celebrates the complete output of the first Cannonball Adderley Quintet co led by brother Nat. Four LP’s in total – To the Ivy League, Sophisticated Swing, Cannonball Adderley Enroute and Cannonballs Sharpshooters. Supporting players include Junior Mance(pno) Sam Jones or Al McKibbon (Bs) and Specs Wright or Jimmy Cobb (dms). Cannonball’s greatest moments may have been with Miles Davis on SOMETHING ELSE(BLUE NOTE) or MILESTONES and KIND OF BLUE(Columbia) but on this re-issue his punchy attack, fabulous swing, and distinctive sound are a real treat. If there’s one thing that’s memorable about this music it’s the damn swagger, the sense of joie de vivre that this group had. It may be not as distinguished as the Clifford Brown/Max Roach Quintet (there’s no Parisienne Thoroughfare here)but it’s in the same ball park. The supporting musicians are perfectly suited to this approach and if Jimmy Cobb and Cannonball wanted a night off from Miles’ intensity at the time, this is the music I’d imagine they’d play for fun. There are 36 tracks(repeat 36 tracks) some as long as nine minutes all brilliantly remastered and this represents real musical value for money. Although the uptempo numbers tend to follow a format of Horn Chorus of the main theme, alto solo, cornet solo, piano solo, bass solo, drum break(maybe)horn chorus of the main theme, coda and out, there are tracks which just feature Cannonball (he brings to the ballad What’s New an appropriate sardonic humour which exactly fits the lyric as interpreted by say Peggy Lee)but some of the arrangements are by genius Ernie Wilkins and there are some wonderful surprises like the medium tempo romp of Straight No Chaser which has a brilliant alto solo and a truly soulful beautifully expressed cornet solo by Nat, as if he’s saying on the horn “Monk – I Love You.” In summary, there’s not a dud track on this double CD issue; the swagger and panache of a player completely in control of his art and craft is evident in every note Cannonball plays; brother Nat is a joy, and all supporting players hang in there with aplomb. One of my best buys of 1998.
By Ian Muldoon.
“Sophisticated Swing” was not only my first exposure to Cannonball but to the whole hard-bop, soul-jazz idiom that took hold in the mid-fifties (Blue Note recordings, for some reason, didn’t make it up into northern Wisconsin–but apparently EmArcy didn’t make it to All Music Guide, which doesn’t even list the session). Next I picked up, also on EmArcy, “Cannonball Enroute.” These two albums and two more Emarcys are collected on this 2-disc collection, so 20 bucks is a nice price.

As for the music, it’s for the most part a more “commercial,” flashy and showy side of Cannonball assisted by the Bobby Timmons-led rhythm section, punctuated by brother Nat’s stratospheric work on cornet. Listening to it today, I find the funk a bit overdone and the playing quite obvious (on “Stella By Starlight” Cannonball plays nothing but straight melody using his loudest and fattest timbre). I have practically all of the Adderley-led quintet and sextet sessions on Riverside, but again the most enduring and memorable Cannonball is to be found on his sessions with Miles (“Somethin’ Else,” “Kind of Blue,” “Milestones”), Bill Evans (“Know What I Mean”), Coltrane (“In Chicago”), Milt Jackson (“Things Are Getting Better”). With his own touring groups, Cannonball had a tendency to bulldoze through the sets, determined to make a connection with the crowd (which became an ever greater challenge as the 60s wore on–one of the reasons Sonny Stitt simply traveled from city to city as a free agent, forever on the lookout for decent-sounding local rhythm sections).

Perhaps the essence of Cannonball Adderley is best captured on “Cannonball Takes Charge,” a 1959 session with Cannonball’s the only horn supported by a Wynton Kelly rhythm section. The gospel-funk elements are all there but emerge naturally from the inspired playing of all hands. The wonder is that this varied and vibrant session was not selected by Keepnews to be part of last year’s Riverside reissue series (it’s presently available on Capitol). For an especially revealing listening experience, compare this alto + rhythm set with the same instrumentation on the 2008 Sonny Stitt reissue, “Don’t Call Me Bird,” also from 1959. Stitt centers his sound; Cannonball embraces it, capturing center, margins and all. Stitt perfects then assembles each polished melodic-harmonic cell into a flawless, pyrotechnical design; Cannonball generates a tidal wave or jet stream, then rides its force as far as it can take him (one of the reasons he gets farther than Sonny on near-modal tunes like “If This Isn’t Love” not to mention “So What”). Stitt is Bird filtered through Bud Powell and equally Art Tatum; Cannonball is Bird by way of Rev. C.L. Franklin and James Brown.
By Samuel Chell.
Reissued in this two-CD set are all of the recordings from the first Cannonball Adderley Quintet, a group that despite its talents failed commercially. With Cannonball on alto, cornetist Nat Adderley, pianist Junior Mance, bassist Sam Jones, and drummer Jimmy Cobb, it is surprising that the group did not make it, but the Adderleys were fairly unknown at the time. The music is quite bop-oriented, bluesy but not as soulful as it would be when Cannonball put together a new group in 1959. This set reissues all of the music originally included on Nat Adderley’s To the Ivy League From Nat, and Cannonball’s Sophisticated Swing, Cannonball Enroute, and Sharpshooters (except for one trio feature without the horns) plus a few cuts not released until the CD era. The generous reissue not only gives one a fine sampling of the first Cannonball Adderley Quintet but everything they recorded. Highly recommended to bop fans. ~ Scott Yanow
This two-disc compilation of material recorded in the mid-’50s for New York’s EmArcy Records covers Julian Cannonball Adderley’s earliest years as a bandleader on New York’s hard-bop scene. Sophisticated Swing shows that although the alto saxophonist was a hard-bop star, he never limited himself to that hard-edged, bluesy style.
Heavily influenced by the Miles DavisGil Evans Birth of the Cool band and by the Modern Jazz Quartet, Adderley essays a number of ballads here. He favors a lush, rounded tone not unlike Benny Carter’s. Adderley’s band features renowned bassist Sam Jones and the saxophonist’s cornetist brother, Nat. Jones plays cello on several of the ballads, giving them an unusual sound that prefigures third stream, a jazzclassical hybrid style popular later in the decade. The aptly titled Sophisticated Swing features all of Adderley’s EmArcy recordings, with remastered sound.
Cannonball Adderley- (Alto Sax)
Nat Adderley- (Cornet)
Junior Mance- (Piano)
Sam Jones, Al McKibbon- (Bass)
Jimmy Cobb, Specs Wright- (Drums)
Cd 1:
01. Bimini- Cannonball Adderley 3:42
02. Sermonette- Nat Adderley 3:37
03. Hoppin’- John Nat Adderley 2:18
04. Hayseed- Nat Adderley 3:07
05. Rattler’s- Groove Cannonball Adderley 3:27
06. Jackleg- Nat Adderley 3:51
07. Room #251- Cannonball Adderley 2:47
08. The Fat Man- Cannonball Adderley 3:32
09. Yesterdays- Nat Adderley 2:55
10. Sam’s Tune- Cannonball Adderley 3:33
11. Sam’s Tune- Nat Adderley 3:07
12. The Nearness Of You- Cannonball Adderley 6:22
13. Spectacular- Cannonball Adderley 3:56
14. Miss Jackie’s Delight- Cannonball Adderley 6:16
15. Tribute To Brownie- Cannonball Adderley 3:32
16. Cobbweb- Cannonball Adderley 2:44
17. 18th Century Ballroom- Cannonball Adderley 3:58
18. Lover Man (Oh, Where Can You Be)- Cannonball Adderley 3:59
19. A Foggy Day- Cannonball Adderley 3:51
20. Hoppin’ John- Cannonball Adderley 4:40
21. Jeannie- Cannonball Adderley 3:26

Cd 2:
01. The Way You Look Tonight- Cannonball Adderley 4:28
02. Porky- Cannonball Adderley 4:00
03. Another Kind Of Soul- Cannonball Adderley 3:40
04. Spring Is Here- Cannonball Adderley 3:48
05. That Funky Train- Cannonball Adderley 5:54
06. Edie McLin- Cannonball Adderley 5:19
07. Our Delight- Cannonball Adderley 4:40
08. Jubilation- Cannonball Adderley 5:30
09. What’s New?- Cannonball Adderley 5:07
10. Straight No Chaser- Cannonball Adderley 8:32
11. If I Love Again- Cannonball Adderley 5:29
12. I’ll Remember April- Cannonball Adderley 5:35
13. Fuller Bop Man (Long Version)- Cannonball Adderley 8:59
14. Fuller Bop Man (Short Version)- Cannonball Adderley 3:46
15. Stay On It- Cannonball Adderley 4:39

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