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Timeless: Cannonball Adderley

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Album Review

As another entry in Verve's Ultimate series, this brings together 16 classic recordings by Cannonball Adderly, all of them personally selected by former band pianist Joe Zawinul. Beginning with a trio of tunes from 1958's Emarcy Small Group Sessions, the set moves on to include Adderly in quintet and larger group configurations, and even a trio of sides from his sessions backed by a string orchestra playing ballads. Adderly was the next logical step after Charlie "Bird" Parker, and his alto sax work was second to none, utilizing Bird's style and mixing it up with healthy doses from Johnny Hodges and Benny Carter to create his own potent style. His duets with John Coltrane on "Limehouse Blues," "Wabash," "Grand Central," and "The Sleeper" are jazz on the edge with both saxophonists challenging each other in the friendliest of musical competitions. This is a topnotch set that belongs in any jazz lover's collection.


Born: 15 September 1928 in Tampa, FL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s

One of the great alto saxophonists, Cannonball Adderley had an exuberant and happy sound that communicated immediately to listeners. His intelligent presentation of his music (often explaining what he and his musicians were going to play) helped make him one of the most popular of all jazzmen. Adderley already had an established career as a high school band director in Florida when, during a 1955 visit to New York, he was persuaded to sit in with Oscar Pettiford's group at the Cafe Bohemia. His...
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