Norman Granz was on hand to record music from Cannonball Adderley's first European tour in 1960, but he and the Adderley estate have been parsimonious in dealing out the goods. It took 24 years for Part One, What Is This Thing Called Soul to emerge, and another 13 years passed before this follow-up album came out. But better late than never, as they say, and the reward is hearing Cannonball's alto in full ecstatic flight, lots of fighting work from brother Nat on cornet and the prized rhythm section of Victor Feldman (piano), Sam Jones (bass) and Louis Hayes (drums) in a state of complete rapport…
Early material from Nat Adderley. His pithy, pungent trumpet and cornet work is effective in a hard bop context, although his own work outside his brother's group has never seemed quite as effective. His backing group included Kenny Clarke in a non-Modern Jazz Quartet role, plus pianist Hank Jones, bassist Wendell Marshall, and Jerome Richardson on tenor sax and flute, playing with more punch than on either his Quincy Jones or Oliver Nelson large group dates.
Adderley has evidently found a soul mate in alto saxophonist Vince Herring, with whom he works once more on this 1990 date. Herring's voice has grown more impressive with each release, and he now offers more than just dazzling lines and phrases; he's constructing and completing confident statements. Pianist Rob Bargad, another regular, is on board, with bassist James Genus and drummer Billy Drummond.
One of Nat Adderley's finest albums. Sometimes the inclusion of tuba in a small-group modern jazz setting can produce whale-like results among a school of dolphin, but that's not the case here. Tuba man Laymon Jackson doesn't dominate or weigh down the proceedings, but merely gives them another texture. Nat is in fine form; I like his Miles mode on BLUE CONCEPT a lot. Tune selection for the date is also top rate: the two compositions by Duke Pearson (WHAT NEXT? and LITTLE MISS) are especially good. Nat Adderley fans and modern jazz lovers in general should like this ambitious CD very much.