LOUIS HAYES AND THE CANNONBALL LEGACY BAND
This is an excellent tribute to Cannonball Adderley and the contribution of music he and his bands made through the decades.
Rightfully, the leader of this date is drummer Louis Hayes who was a member of Adderley's band. Also, saxophonist Vincent Herring is here. Herring took Cannonball's place, after Adderley's death, in bands led by Nat Adderley.
The burgeoning trumpet star Jeremy Pelt is heard on trumpet, cornet and flugelhorn. Rick Germanson and Anthony Wonsey share piano duties. Richie Goods on bass completes the group.
Pianist Germanson lays down the foundation for a strong version of "Sack O' Woe" with Herring delivering a hard-swinging solo followed by Pelt blowing equally hard. Oh yes, there is a ballad, a re-worked "Autumn Leaves" fills that bill quite nicely. Pelt opens with a soulful muted solo with Herring's alto next with an energized attack. Germanson comes in with a chord-filled interlude before Pelt's return.
Tunes include "Jessica's Birthday," "Unit 7," "New Delhi" and one written by Pelt for the Adderley's, "The Two of Them."
MIKE LE DONNE
Any recording with tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander on it is bound to be worthy of great praise.
This session, led by Hammond B-3 organist Mike Le Donne is no exception, but its goodness is not entirely dependent on the musical expertise of Alexander. Guitarist Peter Bernstein has impressive credentials, and his work on the ballad "Idle Moments" is truly noteworthy. Drummer Joe Farnsworth, a veteran along with Alexander of the formative Charles Earland years, is a master time keeper.
One cut, "At Long Last Love," is minus Alexander. However, Le Donne and Bernstein handle it with beautifully constructed and executed solos of their own.
"SPECIALTY PROFILES ROY MILTON"
Drummer/singer Roy Milton was one of the first musicians to perform that unique mix of blues and jazz that became rhythm and blues.
Historians say his band had two books, one for White fans in Hollywood and another for after-hour sessions in South Central Los Angeles clubs patronized by Blacks.
Art Rupe, who operated Juke Box Records, felt Black record buyers were ignored by major labels, so he signed Milton to record the tunes he played in South Central.
As history sometimes does, it repeats itself. This kind of R&B is being copied today for young Lindyhoppers. Most of the 14 tunes were recorded between the late 1940s and early 1950s. Each tune has the throbbing beat of its day, which combines tenor and alto-saxophone solos. Pianist Camille Howard, well known in her own right, sings "Thrill Me," a superb jump blues.
There is a bonus of a second disc that contains tunes by Joe Liggins, Percy Mayfield, Lloyd Price, Sam Cooke, Little Richard and more.
"SPECIALTY PROFILES SAM COOKE"
Sam Cooke began his singing career as a gospel singer and gained his initial fame as the lead singer of the Soul Stirrers.
The Soul Stirrers were in the gospel business for 60 years, six of them with Cooke as a member. This release has seven gospel tracks including, "Jesus, I'll Never Forget," "Peace in the Valley," "Jesus Gave Me Water," "The Last Mile of the Way," "Any Day" and more. He includes pop hits "I'll Come Running Back to You," and " I Don't Want to Cry."
Both gospel music and Sam Cooke's music will always be part of American music. And these 14 cuts are clear evidence of that.