So far, I’ve written only about one album (see my review of “Know What I Mean here) by the great alto saxonphonist Julian “Cannonball” Adderley.
This is a bit of a sin as I really like him. I recognize that Parker and Coltrane were the more creative and influential artists, but in real life I listen to Adderley albums quite regularly, and more often than the first two giants. So watch this spot for more on him.
Mercy Mercy Mercy! Live At “The Club” (Capitol 1966)
So what triggered me writing about this particular album? Well, quite simply, I heard it on the radio. In this case it was Radio Swiss Jazz, a music only channel run by the Swiss public radio, which unlike it’s classical counterpart, actually often plays really good music.
Who else do we have at this live gig at Club de Lisa in Chicago? Let’s start with Nat Adderley on Cornet, his brother. They often played together and are very complementary.
Then on piano we have Joe Zawinul, the Austrian pianist & keyboarder, who had joined Adderley earlier, but became much more famous later playing with Miles Davis on Bitches Brew, and with Wayne Shorter on the fusion band Weather Report.
To finish the quintet’s line up, on drums we have Victor Gaskin, and on bass Roy McCurdy.
So what do we get on this album?
This is 1966, so just the end of the hardbop era before things started moving on towards Free Jazz and Fusion. None of that here, this is still 100% solid hard bop. What you get, is essentially Fun and Games, as the first two titles are called.
Honestly, I probably wouldn’t even mention this album which is nothing but solid, non-outstanding hard bop (with a lot of energy though), if it didn’t include the title track, Mercy Mercy Mercy, written by Joe Zawinul earlier this year, and which became a chart hit (yes, in the 1960s Jazz tracks still could be come chart hits), and has been covered a lot since.
What is so special about this track, no. 3? It’s 5:10 of pure drive, but laid back. Not sure how they pull of this contradiction in terms, but I guess it is Joe Zawinul on his Wurlitzer e-piano is the one who really kills here. The Adderley brothers get to play occasionally, but fundamentally this truly is a Zawinul song through and through.
Check it out:
My rating: 4 stars (with Mercy Mercy Mercy deserving 5 stars on its own).