Cannonball Adderley – “Poppin’ in Paris: Live at L’Olympia” (1972)

Label: Elemental - Vinyl Release Dates: April 20, 2024 / CD + Digital: April 26, 2024
Cannonball Adderley - “Poppin’ in Paris: Live at L’Olympia” (1972)

This album is very different from the previous one recorded in Bordeaux, France, for several reasons. After Joe Zawinul on the piano, this 1972 concert sees the arrival of George Duke. With the 1970s in full swing, we find ourselves in a form of jazz-fusion asserted by the synthesizers whose sounds have aged, but Duke’s talent perfectly highlights Adderley’s, who seems even more creative in this artistic form. “Poppin’ in Paris: Live at L’Olympia” (1972) was recorded at the famous Olympia Theatre in Paris, France, on October 25, 1972, as part of the Paris Jazz Festival. Nat Adderley and Roy McCurdy return to the trumpet and drums respectively, while pianist George Duke and bassist Walter Booker join the group.

Similar to its 1969 counterpart, the Olympia concert presents a diverse program consisting of epics such as “Doctor Honoris Causa” and “The Black Messiah,” as well as the popular song “Mercy Mercy Mercy.” Nat Adderley once shared, “We never covered a hit. We never did covers of hit records like many musicians did. All the music we ever did came from within what our group had at the time. Either I wrote the song, or Cannon did, or anyone in the group did. That’s where our repertoire came from, and we didn’t draw material from outside our own little family. If these songs were successful, we are to blame for that success, I’ll take responsibility for it.”

“Creative” is the keyword of this album; each musician seems to delve deep within themselves for inspiration and clearly enjoys George Duke’s propositions. Whether in 1969 or here in ’72, each of these two albums is a true musical and historical treasure. I myself remember studying Duke’s bass scores at that time, illustrating the excitement we all shared. With a decent musical level, we Europeans first sought to understand what was happening in the USA in the jazz world, and then we embraced it. The notion of improvisation was completely foreign to us at the time, but evidently, there is ample room for it in this Parisian concert. This album remains perfectly contemporary even today, despite 1972 being long gone, showing how well these musicians understood things back then, already having one foot in today’s world.

Pianist Michael Wolff, who played with Cannonball during this period, states, “I think Cannonball is really underrated because he was so accessible and bluesy, but he was also experimental. He had superb technique and an incredible ear. And he was a beautiful person, really fun to have on the road.”

The package for the Olympia concert also includes a comprehensive booklet with rare photos and essays by Bob Blumenthal and Zev Feldman, as well as testimonials from Tia Fuller, Lou Donaldson, and Vincent Herring. The box set also includes a previously unreleased interview from 1983 with Nat Adderley.

Reflecting on the impact of the great saxophonist, Vincent Herring, who supports the Cannonball Adderley Legacy Band, asserts that Cannonball was “more than just a musician.” He says, “He contributed more to music than just playing the saxophone brilliantly. His concept of overall group and leadership, allowing people in the group to flourish and make contributions that helped create that special and unique sound, were essential to his success.” Hal Galper agrees. “Cannonball set the standard for alto saxophonists after him,” he says. “Who else was as proficient as him in all aspects of music, writing, playing, and arranging? Cannonball’s mastery of the instrument was amazing, but so was his great rhythm.”

After recommending a book about Cannonball Adderley that everyone can read, this time I recommend this excellent book specifically for musicians and music students: “Cannonball Adderley – Omnibook for B-flat instruments” because honestly, it’s time to rediscover Adderley’s work, which for me is as important as that of Miles, Zawinul, Rollins, Shorter, and many others. You will soon be able to hear this album on Bayou Blue Radio, because, of course, it’s an “Essential.”

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 the CD version

To buy the LP vinyl version

Never-before-released Cannonball Adderley’s 1972 Concert at L’Olympia.
Featuring Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker & Roy McCurdy.
Deluxe limited edition CD-set
Remastered audio transferred from the original tape reels
Include a 20-page booklet with rare photos; essays by jazz author Bob Blumenthal and producer Zev Feldman plus testimonies by Roy McCurdy, Tia Fuller, Lou Donaldson, & Vincent Herring, and a never-before-published Nat Adderley interview.

Julian “Cannonball” Adderley – alto sax (soprano sax on “Doctor Honoris Causa”)
Nat Adderley – Cornet
George Duke – piano and electric piano
Walter Booker – bass
Roy McCurdy – Drums

Releases April 26, 2024
Produced for Release by Zev Feldman
Executive Producers: Jordi Soley and Carlos Augustín Calembert
Associate Producers: James Batsford and Zak Shelby Szyszko