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Live Session by Cannonball Adderley and Ernie Andrews

As splendidly matched as Coltrane and Hartman were, this pairing of Ernie Andrews with the Adderley quintet was as ideal. Where Trane and Hartman were quietly refined, Cannonball and Andrews were, as Cannonball says, "in the middle of the nitty gritty." This has a celebratory feel, a party down in the basement, a letting down of the hair, as it were. Recorded at Memory Lane in Los Angeles in September 1962 and at the Lighthouse in Hermosa two years later, this was Andrews' turf. Cannonball and the quintet of Nat Adderley (cornet), Joe Zawinul (piano), Sam Jones (bass) and Elvin Jones (drums) were the out of towners come to check out the master vocalist. Though, given that the world was Cannonball’s stage, there were no flirtatious dances. This was more like two old friends separated by time and geography falling back into the old patter in short order.

In Andrews, one can hear the whole of the history of jazz vocals, those from whose inspirational well he drank and those then yet to make their mark. Imagine an amalgam of Billy Eckstine and Arthur Prysock with Lou Rawls and occasional flashes of Esther Phillips’ phrasing. The man was a master among masters. On the classic "Next Time You See Me," re-titled here "Next Time I See You," he has the slightest bit of a warbled inflection that gives the tune that much more grit. On Tommy Wolf’s gorgeous "I’m Always Drunk In San Francisco," he reminds fleetingly of a young Nat Cole, though with a darker range. On "Ten Years of Tears," which features a brilliant cornet solo, the singer and the band find a chemistry that works for the audience, which can be heard clapping along at times, and shouting out their glee at the goings-on. Through "Don’t Be Afraid of Love," the tinkle of glasses at a busy bar can be heard in the background. This is what a live club recording should sound like. Cannonball and Nat Adderley’s voicing on this number, especially, is transcendent. Piano, bass and drum are exquisitely complimentary and supportive. And, again, Ernie Andrews’ voice is a knock out. His phrasing when he reaches for "of love" is deep out of the Eckstine bag. On the warhorse "Bill Bailey," Joe Zawinul’s deft touch is appealing on a superb arrangement. "Since I Fell For You," though sung soulfully, belongs to the Adderlys. Both standout, whether on the bump and grind blurts and bleets or in sweet passages.

The final three numbers are released for the first time. "Come On Back," on which Andrews sings "It’s all over but the shoutin’/and I’m shoutin’ ‘cause I still love you," Nat Adderley offers a bluesy cornet countered by mellow sax that harkens back to Johnny Hodges. Cannonball’s classic "Work Song" gets a long deep blues-based intro by all. Great alto work, piano trills and malleted drums build in intensity before breaking into the familiar line. Andrews lives "breaking rocks out here on the chain gang/breaking rocks and serving my time." It is an extraordinary version of a classic blues. The closing "Green Door" is more of the same and features a fine Zawinul intro. The closing applause starts strong and grows ever more enthusiastic with shouts of "more!" My sentiments exactly.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Cannonball Adderley and Ernie Andrews
  • CD Title: Live Session
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2004
  • Reissue Original Release: 1964
  • Record Label: Capitol
  • Rating: Four Stars
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