"LH & the CCP" Review
by OWEN CORDLE, correspondent
Raleigh News-Observer - July 17, 2005
3 and 1/2 stars!
In 1959, Julian "Cannonball" Adderley and John Coltrane recorded an album called "The Cannonball Adderley Quintet in Chicago." The quintet was simply the Miles Davis Sextet minus the leader, but the album has since become immortalized as the only time the two saxophonists recorded together outside the Sextet.
Taking its inspiration from this session, "Luther Hughes and the Cannonball-Coltrane Project" (Primrose Lane) expands the concept to include tunes recorded individually by the saxophonists plus new material.
The album comes as a pleasant surprise, first because saxophonists Bruce Babad (alto) and Glenn Cashman (tenor) -- academics little known to the public -- display a fierce brand of swing. Second, the album eschews the stultified tribute approach in favor of a heated (yet structured) blowing session. Although only "Limehouse Blues" appears from the original Adderley-Coltrane repertoire, you feel a kinship with the other tunes. And the rhythm section -- bassist Hughes, drummer Paul Kreibich and pianist Ed Czach (alternating with Tom Rainer) -- feels perfect for an Adderley date were he around today.
Any doubts about the saxophonists' chops are dispelled by Tadd Dameron's uptempo "Super Jet." Babad demonstrates a pronounced swing articulation and a rhythmic drive akin to Adderley. Cashman seems influenced as much by heavyweight Coltrane followers such as Ernie Watts and Mike Brecker as he does by the original source -- no problem in this context. Cashman's "No Mercy," a harmonically challenging answer to Joe Zawinul's "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy," is pure soul-washing gospel.
Coltrane's "Bass Blues" illuminates Hughes' meaty tone and masculine solo lines. Hughes and Kreibich performed with the late pianist Gene Harris, whose huge sense of swing is an endowment heard in their playing throughout this album.