The Cannonball Adderley Quintet 

The Cannonball Adderley Quintet in San Francisco

In September 1959, Cannonball Adderley wanted some spotlight. After two years as a sideman in the shadow of Miles Davis, the alto sax icon called up his brother Nat and headed west. Fuck autumn in New York; the Adderley brothers were all about October in San Francisco. They enlisted a bunch of old friends -- fellow Floridian Sam Jones on bass, moonlighting Jazz Messenger Bobby Timmons on piano, Louis Hayes on drums -- who'd played together back East in the early '50s.

It was the perfect group to channel Cannonball's soul-sleazy redefinition of bop.

The fruit of that 1959 residence at San Francisco's Jazz Workshop, The Cannonball Adderley Quintet in San Francisco, remains one of the most celebrated documents in the jazz canon. Not only is it the finest live record of the era, but the greasy spin on hard-swinging bop drew the blueprint for the "soul-jazz" boom a decade later. Riverside's new rerelease presents the sweaty brilliance of this evening with shimmering clarity.

The record's gospel-waltz opener "This Here" and the call-and-response of "Spontaneous Combustion" inaugurate the session with the sleazy ferocity that became the Adderley legacy. But later, Randy Weston's "Hi-Fly" (today a standard because of this performance) shows the band's dynamic range. The six-song set concludes with Monk's "Straight, No Chaser," a bonus track first available on the limited-edition 2000 reissue.

For the devout, San Francisco is an apt reminder of Cannonball's immense ability as a bandleader. But for novice jazz listeners or bop newcomers, it's even more necessary, with a seething energy and spirited feel that perfectly introduces deaf ears to the voice of an oft-overlooked giant -- one who tried to change the musical landscape from our own backyard.


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