Tuesday, March 11, 2014


In 1970, Cannonball Adderley recorded a series of concerts that resulted in three cult classic live albums, of which this double-album—produced, like other landmark double albums of the time like Soul Zodiac and Soul of the Bible, by David Axelrod—is the hardest to find. It captures Cannonball and the Quintet (brother Nat Adderley on cornet, Roy McCurdy on drums, Walter Booker on bass and George Duke—fresh from replacing Joe Zawinul, who had left to form Weather Report—on keyboards) at the forefront of the burgeoning electronic jazz-rock fusion movement, sounding at times every bit like the early ‘70s band of Cannonball’s former bandleader Miles Davis, except maybe even funkier and more out there. 

But Cannonball always had a  populist streak to him—after all, the man had a Top 20 hit with “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy”—and so The Black Messiah also features flat-out rock and roll (guest guitarist Mike Deasy’s “Liittle Benny Hen”) as well as dips into the soul-jazz style that had landed him on the charts several years earlier, all punctuated by his always entertaining between-song raps. The band is killer, too, with guests including, in addition to Deasy, percussionists Airto Moreira and Buck Clark, clarinetist Alvin Battiste and saxman Ernie Watts. 

How this fascinating double live album—which was recorded at the Troubadour in Los Angeles during the same concerts that yielded the album Music, You All—has eluded reissue till now is anybody’s guess, but our Real Gone Music/Dusty Groove release features liner notes by Cannonball devotee Bill Kopp, with original art and added photos. Remastered by Maria Triana at Battery Studios in NYC—one of the most mindblowing collaborations between Adderley and Axelrod!

1. Introduction /  2. The Black Messiah / 3. Monologue / 4. Little Benny Hen / 5. Zanek / 6. Dr. Honouris Causa /

1..The Chocolate Nuisance / 2. Untitled / 3. The Steam Drill / 4. Eye of the Cosmos / 5. Episode from The Music Came / 6. Heritage / 7. Circumference / 8. Pretty Paul

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