Julian Adderley: Portrait of Cannonball (1958) Riverside

Picture files updated July 1, 2020


Selection: “Straight Life” (Julian Adderley)


Blue Mitchell, trumpet; Cannonball Adderley, alto sax; Bill Evans, piano; Sam Jones, bass; Philly Joe Jones; recorded at Reeves Sound Studios, NYC, July 1, 1958


High on his success with the Miles Davis Sextet, Adderley’s first album for Riverside, in 1958, is a strong outing. The session is graced by Bill Evans on piano, with Blue Mitchell on trumpet and Sam Jones and Philly Joe holding down the rhythm section, Adderley’s alto is strong and vibrant, with plenty of energy pushing everything along. The sample “Straight Life” is a lovely ballad, with Adderley’s poignant phrasing and elegant flourishes  reminiscent of the superlative Blue Note “Something Else” from around the same year.

Not sure how I would feel being labelled “Cannonball”. The waistline isn’t as trim as it was forty years ago, but Adderley was only around thirty years old at this time. He could do with shedding a few pounds, but “Cannonball”? Still, the recording is credited to “Julian Adderley” which definitely has a more sophisticated ring.

Vinyl:  Riverside RLP 12-269;  Interdisk licensed, Phillips UK pressing

Riverside recordings – of which this is a UK press – enjoy wide dynamic range and a fresh bright presentation which never fails to please in the audiophile department. The US Riverside pressing have the edge but nothing worth fighting over – they all sound great. It claims to enjoy “Spectrosonic Engineering”  – the  marketing department’s attempt to baffle record buyers and explain the concept of wide dynamic range in plain gobbledygook.

Another cover to add to the “Smokin’ Musicians” gallery. For a pleasant change the cover shows little sign of its true age, and the absence of spindle marks on the label suggests it spent most of its fifty year life unplayed in someone’s collection. Which is to my benefit, as it is a better session than I expected, and the price didn’t really reflect the quality within. Sometimes not being a “collectible” has its advantages.




12 thoughts on “Julian Adderley: Portrait of Cannonball (1958) Riverside

  1. Pingback: ‘Portrait of Cannonball’ | O Universo Numa Casca de Noz

    • My copy of Saxophone Collosus is the Prestige Sixties reissue on the Gold Label and it hisses the whole way through. Can you imagine a Gold Label (the best!) that hisses? As it happens, it sounds great, apart from the hiss. The New Jazz hissers are three original Walt Dickerson. They taught me to be very wary of throwing money at “originals” from the Prestige stable.


  2. For me there was a watershed somewhere around 1972, when Fantasy Records bought Prestige (in the same way Liberty bought Blue Note), and the whole catalogue was reissued on the green label with the address “10th and Parker” – Kiss of death audio-wise.

    New Jazz originals I have a some are “hissy vinyl”, not nice to listen to at all.Some reissues I guess are better than the originals with impure vinyl.


  3. Looks like a very nice LP. Do they use american stampers for these UK releases??
    Also: I was under the impression that Cannonball played always played Alto sax not Tenor which your text refer to? I do not have this on CD or LP so I’m not sure 😉


    • Hi thanks for spotting my bad, its alto not tenor, you are quite right. Updated
      My guess is the Americans would have shipped a mother to the UK, and the plant here would create one or more sets of stampers, according to whatever the pressing volume required. Esquire UK releases of Prestige all carry the RVG impression from the original US Master.
      Whether the American company sent just stampers, or a mother from which to create more stampers, is anyones guess but a long-time record dealer I know once referred to “all the metalwork being done here”, from which I concluded we made the stampers here.
      All the detail of the mechanics remain a mystery to me.


      • Yeah Cannonball was big guy that played a small sax 😉

        Hmmm….thanks for the info on Esquire. If it says RVG in the runout we can be pretty sure I guess. Atleast I always get happy when I see the RVG, Van Gelder etc. or any abbreviation of Rudy’s work.

        OT: The quest for originals can be a bit strange sometimes. I caught a copy of Kenny Dorham 1959 which is in reality a reissue of Quiet Kenny + one song (Mack The Knife). Prestige records pressing from 1970 and great cover too 😉 Sound is spectacular and in stereo too. The New Jazz Purple QK is only in mono I think. So here the original LP is over $2000 and I got a great reissue for $20 with probably better sound based on my other New Jazz releases I own.


  4. Thank you for your comments gentlemen. I’ll search out a worn spindle hole comparator. Matty.

    Hopefully you like the inclusion of the music sample in posts now (little loudspeaker symbol and arrow to click on, at the start of the post. It is not very prominent so I wondered if people would recognise it! I have added music samples to most of the previous posts where I could not find a YouTube. To see the audioplayer I think you have to be viewing the post itself, not the email alert)

    It seemed strange on reflection, to have a blog about music, without the music being present. There was an inexpensive upgrade required in order to upload music files, audio quality is only MP3, but the file size is small so it doesn’t eat up the storage space allowance from WordPress.


  5. yes, it’s a very important feature to evaluate a record when it’s not possible to listen to.
    the last weekend I didn’t buy a Jackie Mclean ’cause it had a lot of spindle marks, meaning it was listened to a lot of times. in such a case one can be sure the record is worn out.
    hat off for pictures!


  6. Good to see a superb close up of a spindle mark free spindle hole. Maybe you should publish one next to it that has spindle marks. Sometimes it’s hard to explain to others what a spindle mark actually is. And once again a superb catch. Love the line-up 😉


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