Cannonball Adderley

Burnin’ In Bordeaux: Live In France 1969

With 10 new Record Store Day releases, some of producer Zev Feldman’s bounties might get lost in the shuffle this year; Burnin’ In Bordeaux won’t be one of them. There are beloved classics in Cannonball Adderley’s catalogue that aren’t this good. Roy McCurdy, the drummer for Adderley’s quintet on this 97-minute live date from March 1969, snaps the listener to attention immediately after pressing play — or dropping the needle on the first record of the two-LP deluxe 180g vinyl set.

That opening track/McCurdy tour-de-force is “The Scavenger,” and, in fairness, the drummer is the best-miked of the bunch — but that doesn’t dilute his killer work. While it’s happening, alto saxophonist Adderley, his cornet-playing brother, Nat, and pianist Joe Zawinul chew the tune to bits. Then they attack “Blue ’n’ Boogie” as if rabid (with a long and devastating McCurdy solo), offer a quick taste of funk on “Walk Tall” and close by wringing every drop of blues out of “Oh Babe.”

Yet Adderley and the boys hit the ballads with the same zeal. This take on “Manhã de Carnaval” is practically a tear-jerker, helped along by Victor Gaskin’s beautiful arco bass solo; “Somewhere” and “Come Sunday” are irresistible features for Adderley and Zawinul, respectively — with Zawinul getting two more (electric) features on the medium-tempo “Why Am I Treated So Bad” and requisite “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.” The real triumph, however, is a treatment of William Fischer’s “Experience In E” that alternates between hard-driving swinger (in the head and the Adderleys’ solos) and ballad (Zawinul’s solo and his duo with Nat).

It must be acknowledged that quite a lot of this recording is Adderley talking to the audience (nearly half the track in the case of “Walk Tall”). But his deep, rich speaking voice turns out to be as warm and engaging as his high, creamy alto tone. It doesn’t slow things down a bit. Burnin’ is right.

On Sale Now
May 2024
Stefon Harris
Look Inside
Print | Digital | iPad