For his second and alas, last album for A&M, Nat Adderley reunites with Joe Zawinul and the greatly underrated arranger Bill Fischer, this time with a tight, often surprisingly progressive concept in mind. All the tunes are by the above three, all are linked by classical arrangements for winds to form a suite, yet both Adderley and Zawinul are given plenty of room to burn. Nat's "Biafra," clearly written with the then-raging Nigerian civil war in mind, sets the thoughtful mood, contrasting a moving dirge with buoyant extended solos by Adderley and Zawinul. Adderley plays both acoustic and electric Varitone cornet; it's amazing how the latter alters his boppish personality into something more sensitive and soulful. Fischer's charts are always intriguing, brooding even when the music is joyous, and already Zawinul is displaying some of the freedom on electric piano that would soon emerge with Miles Davis and Weather Report. Indeed, Zawinul's "Grey Moss" and Fischer's "Nobody Knows" sound like cautious prototypes for portions of Miles' Bitches Brew. A fascinating album, beautifully produced, with mordant cover art (firecrackers).
Share this page