Recorded in 1955
The debut recording session of the Adderley brothers, saxophonist Julian "Cannonball" Adderley and trumpeter Nat. Given the shining star of recognition that Cannonball achieved in his short life, it's amazing that the brothers' first date would be with Nat as leader. And the band on this record is, well, stellar, even for that time in 1955: Paul Chambers on bass, Horace Silver on piano, and Roy Haynes on drums.
Issued in the Desert Island Discs series by Verve, this is truly one of them. It's a hard, post-bop date that features a quintet of excellent players having a good old time in the studio. All tunes are by the Adderley brothers, who, at this time, were free to exploit their own identities (Cannonball had yet to be saddled with his "new Bird" status, since Charlie Parker had been dead less than six months). They were undiscovered and under-heard, playing only a smattering of dates in New York clubs after their exodus from Florida. Many of the tunes here, "Watermelon," "Little Joanie Walks," "Two Brothers," "Crazy Baby," and "Blues for Bohemia," would be in both men's sets for decades to come.
And whether ballad or bebop, the rhythm section kept the front line in check. The exuberance is allowed by the trio of Silver, Chambers, and Haynes, rather than dictated by the Adderleys. It's gorgeous to hear all the Benny Carter in Cannonball's playing, and the Roy Eldridge in Nat's. Going track for track or looking for standouts here would be fruitless. This is a day in 1955, top to bottom, when some of the finest musicians in the world didn't know it yet. They got together for a good time and a blowing session that became a legendary moment in the history of jazz. Enough said.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek
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