Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Record a Week: Cannonball Adderley - Phenix

Recorded in 1975 only 4 months before his death, Phenix was Adderley's second-last studio recording.

High Fly
Work Song
Sack O' Woe

Jive Samba
This Here
The Sidewalk of New York

Hambi Nami
74 Miles Away

Country Preacher
Stars Fell on Alabama
Walk Tall
Mercy, Mercy, Mercy

When I turned on the first side, this sounded entirely like a lounge-style record. I wondered what I had gotten myself into, because it was at this point I noticed it was a double record. However, after the soft jazz/lounge feel establishes itself, Adderley lets loose.

Picture yourself in a smokey jazz club past midnight and the headliner comes on. The backup band starts playing and as they get into it, the spotlight lights up the centre of the stage. You had not previously noticed an unlit portion of the stage, but now that the main performer's presence is filling it up, you wonder how you never saw it. Then the music starts really going. As my dad would say: "the band was cooking". That's where this record takes you.

Using a host of guest performers, Adderley covers a lot of ground on this double LP. It flows through the various styles he covered in his 20+ years of making music and fits as a perfect retrospect, even though it wasn't intended as such.

Posthumous, his music lives on through Dr. Dre's "Bar One" and numerous other samples in hip-hop music.

It took me a while to get into it, but I really got into Country Preacher and Mercy, Mercy, Mercy. I think a second listen would let me appreciate some of the songs I maybe didn't give the best chance the first time around.

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