Cannonball Adderley Quintet ‘You Got To Pay The Price To Be Free’ (Real Gone Music) 4/5

cannonball-adderley-quintetIf the title is familiar, the recording has been one of the harder to find albums that the band recorded on Capitol, produced by David Axelrod, capturing the quintet at a crossroads in their career, and thus the re-issue comes as a welcome relief, and follows on from previous albums from that same era when both Cannonball Adderley’s band and jazz more generally were in a state of flux. The band were soaking up new influences by the time this recording was being made and Brazilian music was uppermost among them. In fact, Cannonball’s love of Brazilian grooves goes back a decade or so to the early 1960s and a Riverside album recorded with the Sergio Mendes band (minus the later trademark vocalists, but scintillating nonetheless). This time round the sound is decidely funkier in hue and with a discernible social commentary element creeping through. A young Nat Adderley Jr (late to be guitarist in Luther Vandross’ 1980s band) delivers a social rap of sorts on the avowedly anti-Nixon title track, but it is his riff-laden acoustic guitar playing on ‘Down in the bottom’, that impresses most of all. Of interest to fans of modal jazz is the Joe Zawinul composition, ‘Painted desert’, that is impressionistic in tone, while Cannonball diversifies on soprano saxophone on, ‘Some time ago’, which does not sound as though it is the same number as the same titled piece on Return to Forever’s epic ECM debut recording just a couple of years later. The album was recorded live in the studio which gives it a slightly rougher edge and both Miles’ electric period (‘Bitches Brew’) and early Weather Report influences can be heard on repeated listens and indeed this was the very last Adderley band album that Zawinul recorded on before co-founding the groundbreaking jazz-fusion pioneers. Of note to those new to jazz is the soulful and funky treatment of ‘Bridges’, a Brazilian classic penned by Milton Nascimento that has subsequently been sampled by hip-hop artists.

Tim Stenhouse