Cannonball Adderley: Live In Paris, 1960-61

Two concerts a year apart show how the Adderley band refashioned its solos and developed a more relaxed sound

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This is a welcome (if incomplete) release of two concert performances by Cannonball’s early quintet (“plus one”). The first was organised by Norman Granz for a 1960 JATP European tour – which also included Coleman Hawkins, Don Byas, Stan Getz and J. J. Johnson. Tracks 1-3 on CD1 are taken from the group’s appearance at the Salle Pleyel on 25 November 1960. They were previously issued (on the Pablo Label in 1967) with three additional titles – Dis Here, Blue Daniel and Bohemia After Dark.

The tightly integrated group – leader Cannon, brother Nat, Victor Feldman, Louis Hayes and Sam Jones – give rousing performances of Jeannine, The Chant and Work Song to a loudly appreciative audience. On the opening number, Cannon leaps in with a blistering and joyous solo, deftly backed by the rhythm section, followed by an equally fast-paced but melodic solo by Nat. The Chant has a suitably “downhome” treatment, with Cannon again opening the proceedings, and Nat in a distinctly Gillespie groove. Work Song receives a familiar but welcome work out with the leader very much in charge.

The remaining 18 tracks are from a 15 April 1961 concert at the Olympia Theatre, and offer very much the hard bop/Parker-derived mixture as before, but with more inventive and extended performances. By the time of his second visit to France, “Julian” and his merry men had honed and refashioned their solos and collective sound in a more relaxed manner than in their previous Parisian appearance.

These numbers, with some duplication of titles, benefit (?) from the leader’s spoken (and sometimes hesitant) introductions to the “tune” in question. A few examples: Our Delight is credited to Tadd Dameron “a very important man to me;” while a long (12.41) and soulful Autumn Leaves has Cannon reflecting that he had previously recorded it “with a young up and coming trumpet player who’s going to be big one day”. At the end of the performance, he identifies the youngster as Miles Davis.

Concerning the longest track, Sack O’ Woe (over 13 minutes in two nearly identical versions), Cannon admits that he “stole it from Duke, and we developed it in our own way”. They certainly do just that. Talking up perhaps the best performance, Big “P” (composed by Jimmy Heath), Cannon tells the audience that “if you don’t know how it goes, well, you don’t know if we’ve played it well or not”.

More seriously, Victor Feldman (“Our pianist is himself international so far as jazz is concerned because he’s from Great Britain.”) delivers sensitive trio renditions of Serenity (his own composition) and Yours Is My Heart Alone. A tedious and overlong drum solo by Louis Hayes (rapturously received) on the closing Bohemia After Dark could have been omitted (or edited) in the interests of aural health and musical good taste.

This is an interesting if slightly uneven compilation, requiring more than one sitting to appreciate its qualities. Cannon is undoubtedly the already established star, but brother Nat is not far behind. A few typos – “New Dehil” – and a personnel listing which appears to have Victor Feldman simultaneously playing vibes and piano on that mis-title suggest that Frémeaux & Associés should pay a little more attention to quality control. An informative essay/appreciation by Michel Brillié partially redeems these minor misdemeanours.

Discography
CD1: Jeannine; The Chant; Work Song; Our Delight; Autumn Leaves; band introduction by Cannonball Adderley; Well You Needn’t; Serenity; Sack O’ Woe (76.27)
CD2: Lisa; Dis Here; New Delhi; Mean To Me; Arriving Soon; Sack O’ Woe (72.02)
CD3: Big “P”; Hi Fly; Jeannine; Dis Here; Yours Is My Heart Alone; In Walked Ray; Bohemia After Dark (63.12)

Julian “Cannonball” Adderley (as); Nat Adderley (c); Victor Feldman (p, vib); Louis Hayes (d); Sam Jones (b; clo). Salle Pleyel, Paris, 25 November 1960 and Olympia Theatre, Paris, 15 April 1961.
Frémeaux & Associés FA 5809