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Album review: Things Are Getting Better by Luther Hughes
and The Cannonball Coltrane Project
By Francine Rios
Cal State Fullerton DAILY TITAN: December
I couldn't help but feel oh-so-snazzy once I popped in Things
Are Getting Better, the latest album released by Luther Hughes and The Cannonball
Coltrane Project. With the group's tasty blend of piano, stand-up bass, alto
and tenor saxophones and drums, I felt as if I was relaxing in Starbucks, Peppermint
Mocha in hand.
What makes The Cannonball Coltrane Project different from just
any old Starbucks music, however, is that the group came together to specifically
re-create the famous jazz works of saxophonist Cannonball Adderley's Cannonball
Adderley Quintet in Chicago, which was Adderley's final album release with
Mercury records. This album featured the work of fellow sax player John Coltrane.
Adderley and Coltrane recorded Kind of Blue with Miles Davis following the
release of Cannonball Adderley Quintet in Chicago in 1959.
The Cannonball and Coltrane Project aims to not copy what Adderley
and Coltrane have already done, but rather, they have made music of their own
interpretation. Their first album was a direct tribute to the Cannonball Adderley
Quintet in Chicago, done in an interpretive manner, and the new album is composed
of original music "related to or inspired by Cannonball and/or Coltrane," according
to the band's website.
"Our only limit was our imaginations (which we let run wild)
and our two CDs are the result," said Luther Hughes, the bass player and
band leader of the Cannonball and Coltrane Project, according to the group's
If interpretation is what the band was going for, they definitely
accomplished it. Each song on Things Are Getting Better has its own personality.
Whether it's the shimmy and shake of the album's opening track "Jive Samba," the
softly-moving beat and lonely-sounding sax of "Primrose Star," or
happy and carefree feel of the album's title song, "Things are Getting
Better," this album is bound to bring out the hidden jazz-lover in anyone.
The great thing about The Cannonball and Coltrane Project is
that their shows are local. They've played Downtown Fullerton's Steamers Cafe
and Jazz Club, The Lighthouse Cafe in Hermosa Beach, Hotel Laguna-Rose in Laguna
Beach, and even the L.A. Jazz Institute and Birch North Park Theater in San
Diego. If the group's recordings are enough to impress you, then an investigation
of their live performances couldn't hurt either.
If you've got a special jazz fan in your life (who knows, that
person might even be you), order up Luther Hughes and The Cannonball Coltrane
Project's Things Are Getting Better from that cool cat they call Santa Claus.
The album is also available for purchase on CDBaby.com and iTunes. To find
out more about the band's upcoming albums and shows, visit CannonballColtraneProject.com.