Cannonball Adderley

74 Miles Away/Walk Tall

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With the hit "Mercy Mercy Mercy" still reverberating on the sales charts, Capitol simply had the Quintet crank out one live club date after another at this point, hoping for another smash. They never really got one, but Cannonball and Nat Adderley, in league with pianist Joe Zawinul, bassist Victor Gaskin and drummer Roy McCurdy, left a strong legacy like this vigorous live Hollywood gig. One of Nat's best gospel-styled hip-shakers, "Do Do Do," opens the record, and Joe Zawinul comes up with another bluesy, catchy self-help tune in the vein of "Mercy" called "Walk Tall," prefaced by another of Cannonball's wryly inspirational talks. Indeed Cannonball was such an ingratiating speaker that he could even deliver a gracious ode to a critic, in this case Leonard Feather prior to his eloquent performance of Feather's "I Remember Bird." Yet the Adderleys and Zawinul could also take off and offer exploratory, nearly avant-garde solos on Zawinul's Middle-Eastern-flavored montuna in 7/4 time, "74 Miles Away" (which presages some of Joe's experiments with Weather Report). This was a rare thing, a group that could grab the public's attention and gently lead them into more difficult idioms without pandering or condescension.

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