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"Luther Hughes and the Cannonball Coltrane Project: Things Are Getting Better"
by FC Etier - Jan 4, 2011

What does an acoustic bass player have in common with Star Trek's Deep Space 9 series? Luther Hughes appeared in six episodes playing bass in a holographic band in an imaginary 1962 jazz club. Three years before, in real life, Cannonball Adderley and John Coltrane recorded what became a landmark album – The Cannonball Adderley Quintet in Chicago. Barely a couple of years after the turn of the century, that same album would inspire a “trekkie geek” to re-create and perform the original arrangements.


It worked so well, Luther Hughes and the Cannonball Coltrane Project (CCP) is about to release their fourth CD, Things Are Getting Better. Once again, drawing on inspiration from a Cannonball Adderley album of the same title. Adderley's recording dates to 1959 and along with Cannonball, includes an all-star cast of Milt Jackson on vibes, Wynton Kelly on piano, Percy Heath on bass and Art Blakey on drums. The listener must wait until track ten to hear an inspired yet loyal cover of the title song.

Things Are Getting Better opens with “Jive Samba” (arranged by Hughes) and contains twelve tracks, seven of which were composed by CCP members. All original compositions are tight and cleverly arranged. Saxophonist Bruce Babad composed and arranged “Primrose Star” which contains a reference to “Stars Fell On Alabama” found on the album that provided the original inspiration for the CCP. In addition to the opening and title tracks, my favorite is the cover of “Blue Daniel”, covered by Cannonball on Live at the Lighthouse (1960). “Take the Coltrane”, a Duke Ellington tribute to one of the great saxophone men closes out the CD.

Roy McCurdy, Cannonball Adderley's drummer for 11 years said, "Cannonball liked music that was swingin`, had a good feelin' and was bluesy.…like your CD." An overwhelming response from live audiences and feedback from other artists like McCurdy drive Hughes and the CCP. This reviewer concurs and looks forward to more from these guys. This project will please long time Adderley and Coltrane fans as well as bring new listeners to jazz.


Joining Hughes in the CCP are Glen Cashman and Bruce Babad on tenor and alto sax respectively, Ed Czach at the piano, and Paul Kreibich on drums and percussion. Things Are Getting Better will be released on January 11, 2011 by Primrose Lane Music. The album is available online via the group's website or at