I’ve been listening to this solo for years now! The first time I heard it was probably freshman year at Juilliard. Carl Allen, who was running the Juilliard Jazz program at the time, was actually on this live recording (Berlin Jazz Festival 1985) which featured Dizzy Gillespie, Freddie Hubbard, Ira Coleman, and Kenny Garrett. I remember I wanted to impress him and learn something he played on and since I love young Kenny Garrett (back in his bebop days) I figured I would learn this one. I’ve since rewritten and relearned this whole recording again including the Freddie Hubbard and Woody Shaw solos that come after!
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Between Grover Washington Jr. and Cannonball Adderley I’m not sure who is a bigger influence on my playing. To me, they both have a very soulful and personal approach to how they play. The best quality of their playing is how they both really know how to make a melody sing! This is a quality I’ve always wanted in my playing. I first heard Cannonball Adderley on a soul record he made that was called “Mercy Mercy Mercy.” Some of the cuts off this album are “Mercy Mercy Mercy,” “Hippodelphia,” “Fun, “Games,” andÂ “Sticks” (my favorite). I believe I first heard “Sticks” and it really stuck with me how much feeling he was playing with and the edgy sound he was getting out of the alto! The beautiful thing about Cannonball is his control and his ability to make the alto sound so different depending on the occasion but still always sounding like himself. I wanted that type of control and still strive for that everytime I pick up my horn. I still transcribe Cannonball solos because there is so much you can learn from him. I’m currently working on his solos from this album with John Coltrane.