Cannonball Adderley / Nat Adderley

The Soul Zodiac

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A few seconds of spacy echo loops and you know where this album is coming from -- the early jazz/rock era, the Age of Aquarius and all that. Yet this crazy amalgam of jazz, rock, electronics, and spoken astrological advice by the popular Los Angeles DJ Rick Holmes actually works, for the music behind the soulfully intoned words is very inventive and Holmes plays effectively off its rhythms. Basically this is the Cannonball Adderley group (Nat, cornet; George Duke, electric piano; Walter Booker, bass; Roy McCurdy, drums), with the young eloquent Ernie Watts sitting in for Cannonball (who appears only on "Libra" and "Aries") on tenor and flute, and Mike Deasy contributing wild psychedelic guitar at times. Indeed Nat seems like just the nominal leader of the session -- Cannonball actually gets top billing as co-producer -- though he plays spiritedly at all times. The music is very eclectic, ranging from mainstream jazz to free-form freak-outs and even hilarious heavy metal rock on the stomping 14-minute "Taurus." Actually these were expansions of the directions the Adderley group was exploring at the time, and one wonders how they determined the idiom for each sign. Whether or not you accept astrology, this double set is a lot of fun.

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