"LH presents the CCP at Crowne Plaza Hotel"
by BOB COMDEN
LA Jazz Scene - Oct 2004
Bassist Luther Hughes presented his Cannonball-Coltrane Project for a one-night engagement at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in September. The original group of Cannonball Adderley and John Coltrane made only one record back in 1959, titled Cannonball Adderley Quintet in Chicago. It was the only time the two jazz giants appeared together on a record that featured the Miles Davis Sextet without Miles.
Hughes was so taken by this group and always wanted to do a project recreating this marvelous musical collaboration. He thought it would be fun to recreate the original arrangements and he also thought of two friends, tenor saxophonist Glenn Cashman, who is a big Coltrane fan and alto saxophonist Bruce Babad, who is a big fan of Cannonball. Adding pianist Tom Ranier and drummer Paul Kreibich rounded out the group. The band was ready to perform their first gig at Kikuya in 2002, with great audience response. The group has added original compositions inspired by the two jazz legends, in addition to many classic jazz standards. The group has played gigs at other clubs around the Southland, including Steamers and they were a big hit at the 4th Annual Newport Beach Jazz Party on February 13th, with a rave review from the Orange County Register. They are working on their first CD now.
A full house of fans came out to the Crowne Plaza. I was very impressed with the group's energy and spirit. Everyone was in top form, with solid solos, while the rhythm section swung hard all evening. They breezed through a lively "Green Dolphin Street," with everyone getting a chance to stretch out. Hughes acted as MC and did a fine job of explaining the history of some of the selections played and a little about the band.
"Partido Marvista," a lively samba written by Kreibich, started out with the rhythm section as the two saxes played the theme. Cashman and Babad took exciting choruses, each demonstrating his individual style, then Ranier burned on his piano solo. It's no wonder that Kreibich is such an in-demand drummer; he's simply marvelous and creates intricate, complete and stunning rhythmic statements for each and every tune. The last set started out with a piece written by Coltrane, "Bass Blues" that was written for bassist Paul Chambers. It featured Hughes and Cashman, then Kreibich, followed by the rest of the band. The laid back blues tune featured another steller solo from Ranier, as the rhythm section grooved. Cashman tore it up on his solo and I heard shades of Eric Dolphy in Babad's playing.
A Tadd Dameron piece, "Super Jet," was originally written as a dedication to Coltrane when they played together. Kreibich arranged the tune as a real up tempo burner. The rhythm section drove hard and the two saxophonists blasted their solos to the stratosphere. The tune bopped along with a rhythmic, happy feel. I especially liked the ensemble playing by Babad and Cashman. The pretty and sentimental "Weaver of Dreams" was lovely and Cashman made the most of it's romantic mood, as Kreibich's sensitive brush work added to the quiet aura of the piece. Cashman's arrangement of the Coltrane classic "Impressions" was a straight-ahead groover. The saxes played the great line with ease then showed their expressive individuality in solos. Cashman and Kreibich went outside for a bit. Ranier jumped in with a strong solo effort and Kreibich took an extended solo before the two horns took it out. A great, powerful version emerged as the audience roared their approval. Another classic from the famous 1959 album, "Limehouse Blues" (arranged by Cashman) closed out a very entertaining evening of jazz. I enjoyed the group a lot and wish them a lot of success with their CD project.