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"Luther Hughes and the Cannonball-Coltrane Project -
Things Are Getting Better"
SaxShed.com - Jan.
Luther Hughes and the Cannonball-Coltrane Project have just released
their fourth cd on Primrose Lane Music. Just reading the title of this CD,
I knew I was in for a treat. John Coltrane and Julian “Cannonball” Adderley
are arguably the two greatest jazz saxophone legends of the 20th Century.
Luther Hughes tribute band highlights the spirit of the music of Trane and
Cannonball. Although neither Glenn Cashman on tenor nor Bruce Babad on alto
sounds much like either legend, they are two wonderful saxophonists with their
own unique sound. In addition to these two fine saxophonists, Ed Czach plays
piano, Hughes bass and Paul Kreibich drums & percussion.
Live Samba features
Cashman on tenor, Czach on piano, Babad on alto and finally Hughes on bass.
The playful and sometimes bluesy melody surrounds spirited solos by all on
The second cut Glo In The Dark initially
pays tribute to the sound of Vince Guaraldi and his wonderful piano renderings.
In the liner notes it says, “This Snoopy-esque waltz was written to
honor…Gloria Cadena.” The band and soloist swing hard throughout
and it is only during the intro that the Snoopy reference really seems to
ring true. Another lovely waltz covered here is Frank Rosolino’s Blue
Daniel where Hughes again stretches
The Afro-Cuban flare of McCoy certainly
evokes images of Mr. Tyner at the piano, but here it is Ed Czach who solos
first. Bruce Babad plays a wonderfully melodic solo on alto sax followed
by a slightly angrier take on the changes by tenorman Glenn Cashman. Simply
put – I love this cut.
The smooth and sexy sound of Babad’s alto sax on Primrose
Star is in perfect contract to the
first three cuts of Things Are Getting Better. Here
Babad’s sound is full, fat and harkens back to not only Cannonball’s
style but many of the great lead alto players of years past. His flowing
doubletime lines at 3:00 and beyond are a treat.
Softly as in a Morning Sunrise is
an often-called standard, which can easily stagnate – but not here.
The ensemble executes a perfectly delightful arrangement by Cashman followed
with inspired solos by all. An alto and tenor unison shout chorus prefaces
the outchorus played by the quintet.
The relaxed samba Sunset at Hermosa features
Kreibich on drums for the first time on the recording. The first solo is
taken by Cashman and second by Babad. The two then trade with Kreibich on
One many occasions while listening to CCP’s Things
Are Getting Better I found a smile
break out on my face. It was never more apparent than while listening to Samba
Para Um Dia Chuvoso. According to
the liner notes, “This Rainy Day Samba includes an interesting ensemble
chorus…with rhythm section maintaining a happy groove.”
Just as Babad’s alto shone on Primrose Star, Cashman’s
tenor shines brightly on For Trane & Wayne. Wayne
Shorter and John Coltrane are two of Glenn Cashman’s biggest influences
according to the track notes. The influences may be there however I much
prefer Cashman’s tenor sound to that of Wayne Shorter. Cashman has
a wonderful control of the tenor and its nuances.
The title track Things Are Getting Better certainly
should make you want to get up and dance – or at least move in your
seat. The hard-swinging, medium tempo romp showcases Babad first with Czach
following with a nice solo and punctuated break. Cashman weaves nicely through
the changes before Hughes takes a final bass solo. The ending breaks feature
the same four in order before the final unison and fermata.
The bossa nova Green Bananas and
the fast-paced Take the Coltrane round
out the 12 tracks on Things Are Getting Better by
Luther Hughes and the Cannonball-Coltrane Project. The latter part of the
tune is highlighted by a spirited, unaccompanied duel by Glenn Cashman and
Bruce Babad on saxophones.
Reviewing a cd such as Things Are Getting Better by
Luther Hughes and the Cannonball-Coltrane Project is an easy task. It has
been such a joy to listen to these wonderful arrangements featuring the talented
cast assembled by Luther Hughes. Do yourself a favor. Run out and buy this