Love, Sex and the Zodiac

Cannonball Adderley

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Love, Sex and the Zodiac Review

by Richie Unterberger

Jazz saxophone great Cannonball Adderley is not usually thought of as a novelty artist, or even one who made embarrassing sellout moves to the pop market, regardless of his success with soul-jazz and his hit 1967 single "Mercy Mercy Mercy." This 1974 album, however, can scarcely be thought of as anything but an embarrassing novelty, and one that will have little appeal to fans of the records for which Adderley is most famous. The real artist on this album is not so much Adderley as Rick Holmes (jazz DJ on Los Angeles radio station KBCA), who wrote and narrated the voice-overs to which Adderley and other musicians supplied a musical backdrop. In common with numerous other records around the Age of Aquarius, it has one track for each astrological sign. In smooth hip period DJ patter, Holmes declaims homilies as to how those born under each sign integrate both sex and love as part of their being. A cast of musicians, including Cannonball, his brother Nat Adderley on cornet, and George Duke on electric piano, backs Holmes' unctuous musings with sketchy fusion instrumentals, co-produced by David Axelrod and Cannonball. The end result is too frivolous to find favor with those who take astrology seriously, yet too serious-minded to be nearly as funny as intentional parodies of self-helpish narratives (like National Lampoon's "Deteriorata"). Maybe it was hoped that some swinging bachelors would use it as seduction music, but if so, their targets were more apt to sink into derisive giggles than submit to conquest. Good for a laugh or two for those with an appetite for tacky music in the incredibly strange music genre, it bears little relation to either the straight-ahead jazz or more pop-oriented jazz for which Cannonball Adderley is most esteemed.