CANNONBALL ADDERLEY / Cannonball Live Mixtape
Cannonball Adderley was not only a popular jazz musician, he was also a populist in that he spoke to and about the working people of the black community. He was eloquent, often witty and able to engender a feeling of unity among his audiences. Although he was definitely a “race man” in that he championed the causes and culture of black people, he was not a racial essentialist, hence some of Cannonball’s most popular and most enduring soul selections (for example “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” and “Country Preacher”) were written by and featured on piano the Viennese wonder, brother Joe Zawinul from Austria. Cannonball had perfected the seemingly contradictory practice of advocating black is beautiful with a racially integrated band. But then, the paradoxical ability to hold together seemingly antagonistic impulses was an essential characteristic of Cannonball Adderley. His always charming and charismatic personality was balanced by a gracious penchant for promoting younger or emerging artists. Cannonball was responsible for introducing Wes Montgomery to Riverside records, Cannon promoted the young Nancy Wilson, re-introduced and shared a recording with veteran vocalist Ernie Andrews. The list goes on, but the point is brother Adderley never failed to reach out to help others. Shortly after Cannonball first arrived in New York City in 1955 he tried starting a band featuring his cornet-playing brother Nat as the second horn. It didn’t catch on but Cannon himself was an instant sensation and in 1959 not only was he a member of the Miles Davis band, Cannon was featured on Kind Of Blue, the most popular jazz recording ever. Cannon used his burgeoning popularity as a springboard to restart the family band. The second time was very successful but the band's good fortune was not inevitable and certainly it would have been easier and far less risky for Cannon to hang with Miles for a minute. And speaking of Miles, within the black community it is no exaggeration to argue that Cannonball was more popular. Miles’ fusion music mixed jazz and rock, Cannonball perfected the fusion of soul music with jazz, and thus reached an enormous popular black audience many of whom were pop and R&B music fans rather than hardcore jazz heads. Miles was like Jimi Hendrix, blues based but heavily rock in presentation, and thus both Miles and Jimi had a huge non-black following. But on the black-hand side there was no equivocation, Cannonball had the larger following. While most critics view Cannonball’s Capitol Records phase as “commercial” and more pop music than jazz music, Cannonball never jettisoned his jazz roots. Regardless of the song or the style of music, Cannon’s lyrical and bluesy saxophone sound offered a rich listening experience. Moreover, Cannonball’s musical range was far, far wider than a simplistic fusion of pop and jazz. Cannonball was not afraid to experiment. Sure he was often able to put a popular spin on his music but that popularity does not diminish the far-reaching range of Cannonball’s music. There has yet to be a serious musician who combines serious musical talent and popular stage presence the way Cannonball did. Whether recording serious jazz with Miles Davis, John Coltrane, or Cannonball’s own groups that featured critically acclaimed musicians such as Charles Lloyd and Yusef Lateef, or whether turning out radio hits such as “Sack ‘O Woe,” “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy,” “Why Am I Treated So Bad,” among a long string of successful singles, regardless of which direction he chose at any given moment, Cannonball Adderley was a major artist who had a profound impact on both audiences as well as on fellow musicians. For those who were around during the sixties and early seventies, this Mixtape will invoke serious nostalgia; for those who are younger, you will probably be surprised at how much you like some, if not all, of this music. And finally, I call your attention to the fact that all of these tracks are taken from live recordings, and as such represent the music you would have heard had you gone to one of Cannonball’s multitude of beautiful concerts. Indeed, think of this Mixtape as a time machine. Kick back, relax, and enjoy the sounds as you enter an earlier universe. —Kalamu ya Salaam Cannonball Live Mixtape Playlist 01 “This Here” – The Cannonball Adderley Quintet In San Francisco 02 “Work Song” – Nippon Soul 03 “Work Song (featuring Ernie Andrews)” – Live Session! 04 “Tengo Tango” – Nippon Soul 05 “Gemini” – In New York 06 “Sticks” – Mercy, Mercy, Mercy 07 “The Happy People” – The Happy People 08 “The Jive Samba” – Riverside Profiles 09 “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” – Mercy, Mercy, Mercy 10 “Country Preacher” – Country Preacher 11 “Walk Tall” – Music, You All 12 “Why Am I Treated So Bad” – Why Am I Treated So Bad
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