Cannonball Adderley: Cannonball’s Sharpshooters (1958) Mercury UK


Selection 1: What’s New? (Haggart- Burke) Haggart a bass player and writer of the song Big Noise From Winnetka

Selection 2: Straight, No Chaser (credited on the this 1959 sleeve to one J. Adderley, song no relation of course to one Th. Monk who first recorded it on Monk’s Blue Note Sessions in 1951 (Genius of Modern Music )

Julian (Cannonball)  Adderley composition: Straight, No Chaser  (1958)

Th Monk composition Straight, No Chaser (1951)

I don’t know. Do they possess a passing similarity?


Nat Adderley (t) Cannonball Adderley (as) Junior Mance (p) Sam Jones (b) Jimmy Cobb (d) recorded at Bell Sound Studios, NYC, March 4 and 6, 1958

Context: three days after recording Sharpshooters, Adderley returned to the studio, this time in the company of Miles Davis and a different rhythm section, to record the classic Something Else for Blue Note (BN 1595)


Allmusic reviewer Scott Yanow awarded the album 4 stars , but was possibly in a hurry to submit  his copy that day:

“Excellent bebop comes from the great altoist Cannonball Adderley and his original quintet”

A little lean on content and only marginally an improvement on the “People who like  this sort of music will be sure to find something here to their liking” Amazon School of Music Criticism ( which is generally  followed by a track listing and the musician credits, to further pad it out) Adderley’s soaring alto solos here echo the blinding performance he delivered during Autumn Leaves on the Something Else album, one of my personal greatest alto solos of all time

Adderley is my personal favourite alto player and dependable solo quality.You may have some candidates of your own for this prestigious award. Speak up. Send in your suggestions for best alto solo ever. David Sanborn nominations are automatically disqualified, Parkers famous alto break is assumed.


It’s hard to fault the visual association with the album title, though a picky art director might quibble the target lacks an effective strike from a cannonball.

Vinyl: MMB 1208 Mercury Emarcy UK 1st release

Mono, 160gm vinyl pressed by EMI Hayes Middx.



Collectors Corner

Source: local record shop in outer South London. Always delighted to lay hands on an Adderley album from this, his most fertile period. All that he needed now was to add Coltrane, which briefly he did.

Very small league purchase. But a treat.

18 thoughts on “Cannonball Adderley: Cannonball’s Sharpshooters (1958) Mercury UK

  1. It’s hard to argue with Autumn Leaves. Charlie Parker’s Koko from the Savoy sessions perhaps or All the Things You Are. Eric Dolphy’s The Prophet. I love Ornette’s solo on Ramblin’ (Atlantic version) and tbh each and everyone of his solos on those classic Atlantics. Douglas Ewart’s solo on George Lewis’s Homage to Charles Parker is one of the most emotionally powerful I’ve ever heard. Roscoe Mitchell on Sound – I could go on.

  2. I think the label “best” is irrelevant and not quantifiable. My favorite alto players are Johnny Hodges, Art Pepper and the very underrated Sonny Criss. Thanks for a entertaining and thoughtful blog!

  3. A few favourite alto solos:

    Charlie Parker, “Confirmation” (Charlie Parker Hi-Fi)
    Eric Dolphy, “Refuge” (Andrew Hill, Point Of Departure)
    Jackie McLean, “Bluesnik” (Bluesnik)
    Johnny Hodges, “Blood Count” (Duke Ellington, …And His Mother Called Him Bill)
    Art Pepper, “I Surrender Dear” (The Art Pepper Quartet)
    Clarence “C” Sharpe, I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good) (Archie Shepp, For Losers)
    Charlie Mariano, Celia (Charles Mingus, Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus)

  4. Andy, you are absolutely correct. Scott Yanow’s Allmusic reviews are typically short, sharp,,,and — painfully perfunctory. Yes, he does seem to be affiliated with the Amazon’s cookie-cutter Skool of Jazz Kreeteecism. . I find Stephen Thomas Erlewine’s, Thom Jurek’s and Bruce Eder’s review’s much, much more intuitive, insightful and probing (although Bruce, my good friend) is not a Jazz expert, preferring early R&B and Doo-Wop to everything else. Yanow’s reviews are best used as a very, very, loose point of stylistic reference and not much else. No Ira Gitler or Nat Hentoff, he.

  5. I think this album is solid bebop from Cannonball’s best period and, to an extant, one of bebop’s better years. It is lacking something (perhaps Coltrane per your suggestion), yet it does stand up. It is a good pick and it would be welcomed in my permanent collection (I don’t have it on vinyl).

    • Indeed. I could not have said it better myself. Yes, it is a fairly generic session — far removed from the all-time-classic status of it’s successor (Somethin’ Else).

      What a difference a recording label (and player lineup) makes!

      • I played my Mercury copy recently and was underwhelmed by both the contents and the sonics, as I recall, and didn’t keep it. It isn’t that it isn’t on a par with SOMETHIN’ ELSE, because virtually nothing else in Cannonball’s output is, really; but it isn’t on a par with some of Adderley’s other records of the period, such as THEM DIRTY BLUES, which, despite the unpromising title, is far from the generic blowing session it might suggest….

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