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Maximum Firepower by Louis Hayes and the Cannonball Legacy Band

Anyone bemoaning jazz today because of that "dour seriousness syndrome" present in so many manifestations just needs to listen to Louis Hayes' Cannonball Legacy Band's Maximum Firepower.

Dedicated to the music of the late Cannonball Adderley Quintet (sometimes Sextet) for which Hayes drummed, Firepower is, dare I say, a firecracker of a soulful (though not soul-jazz), energy-loaded hard bop session. There're no surprises here, just plenty of the plump 'n' juicy, fluid 'n' tart sax of Vincent Herring (a C'ball successor if there ever was one), the full-bodied crackle of Jeremy Pelt's singing trumpet, and plenty of winning tunes that make up in zinging joie de vivre what they lack in "complexity" or "depth." Get it, kids? This is not cerebral jazz to ponder (to), this is jazz in the moment, to get swept up in, tap your foot, and ride the sonic rollercoaster of the solos.

Louis Hayes is as much the "star" here as is Cannonball's music (and spirit) - his punchy, eruptive, ebullient flair is heard/felt throughout, literally driving this music like there was no tomorrow. Which is not to imply there are no mellow/tender moments to be had - the Pelt-composed ballad "The Two of Them" is a tribute to the Adderley Brothers (Cannon and bro Nat, coronetist) artfully balances the wistful and the celebratory.

Need some "seriously" hearty, tuneful, earthy jazz to blast away the cobwebs, to give your get-up-&-go a serious boost of B-12? This platter is your tonic, no prescription needed.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Louis Hayes and the Cannonball Legacy Band
  • CD Title: Maximum Firepower
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2006
  • Record Label: Savant
  • Rating: Five Stars
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