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Lynn René Bayley
Fanfare, September 2012

…[In] The Painted Desert…Cannonball is at his inventive best, brother Nat’s trumpet evokes strong memories of Miles Davis in his opening chorus, and the rhythm section falls in and out of the beat with the ease of free-form players who had been doing it all their lives.

Following this complex masterpiece, Nat Adderley’s simpler, more relaxed gospel-jazz tune Oh Babe sounds like a walk in the park. Cannonball talks, somewhat off-mike, about the “certain feeling” you need for this piece while Zawinul plays a lovely yet simple electric piano solo in the foreground. This is followed by an absolutely blistering performance of Dizzy Gillespie’s fairly advanced bop piece Blue and Boogie, in which Cannonball shows why he was such a highly prized alto player in the post-Parker era.

Walk Tall is a short gospel-jazz tune by Zawinul, played nicely, but the real punctuation mark to this set is a surprisingly uptempo yet relaxed version of Nat Adderley’s famous Work Song. Cannonball walks the tightrope between familiar gospel licks, bop turnarounds, and inventive out-of-tonality phrases. The bottom line is, he keeps you in suspense and is consistently interesting.

All in all, this is a surprisingly good set for the Adderley brothers’ quintet. © 2012 Fanfare

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