Cannonball Adderley: Country Preacher

The Songs:

  1. Walk Tall
  2. Country Preacher
  3. Hummin’
  4. Oh Babe
  5. Afro-Spanish Omelet:      a) Umbakwen                    b) Soli Tomba                     c) Oiga                               d) Marabi
  6. The Scene
  • Julian “Cannonball” Adderley – alto & soprano saxophones
  • Nat Adderley – cornet, vocals
  • Joe Zawinul – electric piano
  • Walter Booker – bass
  • Roy McCurdy – drums
  • Rev. Jesse Jackson – spoken introduction

From 1964–1970, Cannonball Adderley recorded and released twenty albums for Capitol Records, many of which were recorded live in concert. 1969’s sole entry in that discography was Country Preacher, recorded live in Chicago for a meeting of Operation Breadbasket, a branch of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference dedicated to fighting hunger. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had established the Rev. Jesse Jackson as head of the organization. He can be heard at the beginning of the album, giving a fiery introduction to the quintet.

Many of the songs on the album had previously been recorded by the group. Joe Zawinul, (who also recorded the landmark Miles Davis albums In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew in 1969), contributed several songs to the album, including the gospel hit “Walk Tall,” “The Scene,” (which appears on numerous recordings at the time as a set closer), and the title track, written for Jesse Jackson and featuring the leader on soprano saxophone. Cannonball’s brother Nat also penned several of the album’s songs, include the simple vamp “Hummin'” and the bluesy “Oh Babe,” which featured the composer on vocals. The main work on the record was Side 2’s Afro-Spanish Omelet, a suite with four movements, each written by a different member of the group. It served as a feature to showcase the individual skills of each musician in the quintet. The record marked the debut of Walter Booker on bass and was one of the last albums with Joe Zawinul, before he left to form Weather Report. He and Cannonball were usually in fine form for most of the live recordings the quintet made, and Country Preacher is no exception. It remains an important entry in the 60’s “soul-jazz” discography. (Buy it here.)

Suggested Reading:

David Baker. The Jazz Style Of Cannonball Adderley.