[10] The Cannonball Adderley Quintet – At The Lighthouse

14 Jun

It seems that jazz music is used as background music these days.

When we hear it, more often than not it is lending a sense of class and sophistication without getting in the way of whatever it is trying to sell.  It is safe, neutral, perhaps even dull.

And it takes several days of playing this live recording from 1960 on constant repeat for me to overcome this preconception.  That is the how long I am lulled, fooled into underestimation – allowing the music to wash over me while I work, read, tweet, go about my daily life – before I actually engage, and focus on these five magnificent musicians doing their thing.

When I finally start paying attention, it is a revelation.


The quintet take it in turns to solo over simple and steady grooves, each performer coaxing a pure and pleasing tone from their instrument.  And the result is sheer positivity, even on the 10 minute opening jam incongruously called “Sack of Woe”!

The first jazz recording of The 1,000, Muhal Richard Abram’s Blu Blu Blu, grabbed attention with unique and surprising sounds, ensuring that while there was no guarantee that you would like it, there was no way you could ignore it.  The sounds produced by Adderley and the rest of his band are archetypal in their purity, and can be unfairly overlooked when encountered only superficially.

The sax tones are bright and lively, the rhythm section bouncy and bouyant, the whole thing so damn sunny, that it brings a smile to your face, a bounce to your step before you even realize it.  Makes me wish I could have been in the smokey crowd, sipping good whiskey, watching as these musicians treat my ears right.

The fact that this was a live set, a moment in time captured all at once, needs comment.  Here is a band who are so proficient, so in sync with one another, that every note is perfect and every transition clean and premeditated, yet the sound created is spontaneous and alive.  The burst of applause after each solo reminds both that this was recorded live with no “do overs”, and that the audience was engrossed and engaged, with plenty of reason.

Jazz may be the genre that I was most excited for in this whole process.  It is a sound I have always loved, but never studied or especially understood.  Having Moon point me in the direction of what he sees as the pinnacle of the form has been an education after just 2 (very different) recordings, and this is before we reach any of the giants whose names I already know.

I’m glad I gave this a closer listen.

Owned before blogging?  No. (1 of 10.  10%)
Heard before blogging?   No. (2 of 10.  20%)
Recommend?                    Yes. (6 of 10.  60%)

Next week:  King Sunny Ade – The Best Of The Classic Years

12 Responses to “[10] The Cannonball Adderley Quintet – At The Lighthouse”

  1. Joe Gola June 14, 2013 at 7:41 PM #

    I’ve had the same thought—routinely playing jazz as background noise deadens our ear to it and makes it difficult to focus on.

  2. nycavri June 16, 2013 at 1:27 PM #

    Was one of the reasons I wanted to undertake this ludicrous task – to give music a more than merely superficial listen. Pleasantly surprised by the results so far, even in the “Not Recommended” selections.

  3. nycavri December 16, 2014 at 7:56 AM #

    Reblogged this on . . . To Hear Before I Blog and commented:

    Throughout December I am going to revisit the first months of this journey, taking time at the end of this year to remember where I’ve been and what I’ve heard.


  1. Some Tuesday Love: “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy,” from the Album, “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy: Live at ‘The Club’,” Julian “Cannonball” Adderley and His Quintet, Featuring Joe Zawinul, 1966 | This Black Sista's Page - July 9, 2013

    […] [10] The Cannonball Adderley Quintet – At The Lighthouse (avri1000.wordpress.com) […]

  2. [14] Air – Air Lore | . . . To Hear Before I Blog - July 12, 2013

    […] has been the Jazz that has most caught my ear through the first dozen recordings, and if Abrams and Adderley were the appetizer, here is the main […]

  3. Cannonball Adderley Sextet Soul Zodiac #Astrology | Mystical Life Astrology - August 5, 2013

    […] [10] The Cannonball Adderley Quintet – At The Lighthouse (avri1000.wordpress.com) […]

  4. [18] The Allman Brothers Band – At Fillmore East | . . . To Hear Before I Blog - August 9, 2013

    […] tight and focused jam band at the height of their craft. Unlike with Cannonball Adderley’s – At The Lighthouse the Allmans never for a moment let you forget that this is […]

  5. [29] Louis Armstrong – Hot Fives and Hot Sevens | . . . To Hear Before I Blog - October 25, 2013

    […] the more esoteric jazz recordings so far.  While it is more immediate than the evolution that is The Cannonball Adderley Quintet, it seems I like my Jazz with a little more unpredictability, more […]

  6. [34] Albert Ayler Trio – Spiritual Unity | . . . To Hear Before I Blog - November 29, 2013

    […] And it is like nothing I have ever heard before.  There is no wat to mistake this for Jazz as background music! […]

  7. [36] Johann Sebastian Bach – The Brandenburg Concertos | . . . To Hear Before I Blog - December 13, 2013

    […] comforting.  There is a little of the “background music” phenomenon I encountered with Cannonball Adderley, but it is an extremely enjoyable change of pace at my […]

  8. [70] Sidney Bechet – Ken Burns’ Jazz | . . . To Hear Before I Blog - August 8, 2014

    […] Ayler.  That is not to say I haven’t greatly enjoyed some more traditional voices – Adderly, Armstrong and Baker come to mind – but at least on this recording I am not hearing anything […]

  9. [111] Fiddler On The Roof – Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick | . . . To Hear Before I Blog - May 22, 2015

    […] musical world has covered or parodied Fiddler . . ., from Bright Eyes to Gwen Stefani, and even Cannonball Adderley (whose album of selections from the show are a revelation!).  The reason for this is clear – […]

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