Cannonball Adderley – Burnin’ in Bordeaux: Live in France (1969)

Elemental – Street date Vinyl Release Dates: April 20, 2024 / CD + Digital: April 26, 2024
Cannonball Adderley - Burnin’ in Bordeaux: Live in France (1969)

These are two landmark albums released by Elemental, “Poppin’ in Paris: Live at L’Olympia” (1972), which I’ll discuss in another article, and “Burnin’ in Bordeaux: Live in France” (1969), the subject of discussion here.

“Burnin’ in Bordeaux: Live in France” (1969) was recorded live at the Théâtre Alhambra during the Bordeaux Jazz Festival in France on March 14, 1969. The excellent Adderley group includes his brother Nat Adderley on trumpet, Joe Zawinul on electric and acoustic piano, bassist Victor Gaskin, and drummer Roy McCurdy. Jazz historian Bob Blumenthal comments: “It’s difficult to identify Cannonball Adderley’s ‘classic’ quintet. Not because of a constant turnover, as many accompanists served for extended periods; he simply employed too many outstanding musicians whose tenures overlapped. Highlighting a specific lineup would mean ignoring excellent musicians whose names are inextricably linked to the group’s legacy. However, if we focus on the time spent under Adderley’s leadership, the group he brought to the Bordeaux Jazz Festival in 1969 must be considered as worthy as any other to bear the title of classic.”

It’s impossible to summarize Cannonball Adderley’s artistic life, so I recommend reading “Walk Tall: The Music and Life of Julian Cannonball Adderley” (Hal Leonard Jazz Biographies), which you can find here.

For the rest, let’s dive back into 1969, a time when French public television still had a cultural vocation and truly championed the greatest artists, which has not been the case for a very long time… At the helm of this recording was the late ORTF (Office de Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française). On this recording, we hear the elegant saxophonist who successfully tries his hand at two or three words of French, all within a most inventive and expressionistic musical tournament. What’s most amusing is that we find one of my favorite artists, who remains a guiding light for me, whom I had met in Brussels, a man of absolute talent and legendary kindness, Joe Zawinul, here on the piano. Nat Adderley on the cornet, Victor Gaskin on bass, and Roy McCurdy on drums, dream musicians for a legendary album.

These particularly well-preserved and perfectly cleaned sound tapes make these recordings come fully alive. Regarding this period, drummer McCurdy states: “Cannonball was a great leader, but he not only stood out as a saxophonist, he was also a great communicator. He spoke to the audience, explained the different pieces to them, and expressed himself at their level so they could understand. There was a great connection between him and the audience, and people loved that as much as they loved hearing him play.” This connection is evident throughout the Bordeaux concert, which includes a varied setlist including “The Scavenger,” “Work Song,” and “Experience in E.”

“Cannonball was an excellent role model for everything concerning the saxophone. He had a beautiful sound, an incredible sense of swing, and everything seemed to flow effortlessly from him. Music always flowed naturally from him, and I am often surprised by his great boldness. He was not static, and that is evident in this Bordeaux concert,” comments the great saxophonist Chris Potter.

The magnificent package for the Bordeaux concert includes a comprehensive booklet with rare photos, essays from acclaimed jazz author and historian Bob Blumenthal and producer Zev Feldman, as well as testimonies from Roy McCurdy, Hal Galper, Chris Potter, and Michael Wolff.

What more can be said, except that this is an important part of jazz history that you can have in your hands, a document that will warm the hearts of Bordeaux residents, and for Americans, an exceptional artist they can be proud of, whose music is passed down through generations.

Thierry De Clemensat
USA correspondent – Paris-Move and ABS magazine
Editor in chief Bayou Blue Radio, Bayou Blue News

PARIS-MOVE, April 6th 2024

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To buy CD version
To buy LP version


First official release of Cannonball Adderley’s 1969 concert in Bordeaux.
Featuring Nat Adderley, Joe Zawinful, Victor Gaskin, and Roy McCurdy.
Deluxe Limited Edition 2-CD set.
Remastered audio transferred from the original tape reels
Includes an extensive booklet with rare photos; essays by jazz author Bob Blumenthal and producer Zev Feldman; plus testimonies by Roy McCurdy, Hal Galper, Chris Potter, and Michael Wolff.

Releases April 26, 2024
Produced for release by Zev Feldman
Executive Producers: Jordi Soley and Carlos Agustin Calembert
Associate Producer: Zak Shelby-Szyszko
Sound Restoration: Marc Doutrepont
Front and Back Cover photos by Jean-Pierre Leloir