Saturday, April 28, 2018

Jim Snidero and Jeremy Pelt - Jubilation! - Celebrating Cannonball Adderley (Savant, 2018)

Veteran saxophonist Jim Snidero and trumpeter Jeremy Pelt pool their talents for a grandly swinging tribute to the great saxophonist Cannonball Adderley, celebrating the ninetieth anniversary of his birth by playing his compositions and songs associated with him. They are joined in the endeavor by David Hazletine on piano, Nat Reeves on bass and Billy Drummond on drums. All together they make for an excellent band that is tailor made to playing flag-waving, no excuses hard bop in the Cannonball mode. "Party Time" starts the music off in fine fashion, with the front line of Snidero and Pelt strutting in a splendid fashion through the uptempo melody and then breaking out for fine solo statements. They rhythm section cooks as well, working together in a selfless manner to keep the music moving inexorably forward while making short and pithy comments of their own. Two of the most well known Cannonball Adderley songs come toward the end of the album with excellent performances of his own "Sack 'o Woe" and his brother Nat Adderley's "Work Song." Both of these compositions have entered the jazz canon, with their riff laden melodies perfect for jam sessions and interpretation. Both of these songs are presented with style and grace on this album with the former gaining its energy from the ebullient playing of the punchy theme that launches the members of the group into memorable solo statements. The latter is one of the most famous songs of the hard bop era, both a statement of protest in The Civil Rights Era ("Work Song" was given excellent and poignant lyrics by Oscar Brown Jr.) and as a powerhouse jazz vehicle on its own. This is where the group latches on to it, playing the familiar melody straight up, after a fine solo drum intro, and then using the force inherent it that theme to move into a round robin series of short but impactful solo statements, conversing with members of the group and offering the listener a swinging and upbeat performance to catch on to. Their own composition "Ball's 90's" is an appropriately balls to the wall performance that gives everybody the chance to stretch out and have a good time, trading ideas and building in a gritty trumpet solo that sounds fine in this context. Cannonball Adderley was an excellent ballad player, and they nod in this direction with "Stars Fell On Alabama" which offers open space for the musicians to play slowly and thoughtfully, gently stating the melody and then offering a respectful reinterpretation of the song in the improvised section. Overall this was an enjoyable and accessible album of mainstream jazz. The group tips their collective hat to a jazz legend while making their own way through the music. Jubilation! - Celebrating Cannonball Adderley -

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