Friday, February 25, 2011

Luther Hughes: Things Are Getting Better

Primrose Lane Music
By Ric Bang
Buy CD: Things Are Getting Better

Luther Hughes is another "jack of all aspects" musician: He has played bass with jazz legends such as Gene Harris, Horace Silver, Don Ellis and Louis Bellson; he taught at numerous colleges in the Los Angeles area; he founded Primrose Lane Music, which produces records and publishes music; and, as a musician, he currently leads several groups.

This album features one of them: the Cannonball Coltrane Project. This quintet concentrates on music by two of the most gifted artists in the hard bop jazz fraternity: Cannonball Adderley, who played alto sax; and John Coltrane, who played tenor sax.

Adderley and Coltrane became almost instant icons when they entered the jazz scene, and both died while still in their 40’s. But although both left huge discographies, they were together on only one album: The Cannonball Adderley Quintet In Chicago.

This release gave Hughes the idea to create the Cannonball-Coltrane Project, which consists of Hughes on bass, Glenn Cashman on tenor sax, Bruce Babad on alto, Ed Czach on piano, and Paul Kreibich on drums. The quintet plays everything Adderley and Coltrane composed individually, along with what both jazz giants played as members of the many bands they were part of, and subsequent tunes others created in their memory. This is the fourth album by Hughes' group.

The dozen tracks here include some of the really classic hard bop arrangements released during the 1960s. "Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise" first was done by Coltrane in his Live at the Village Vanguard album; "Take the Coltrane" was written by Duke Ellington for his Duke Ellington and John Coltrane release; and several other tunes relate to sessions at the famous Lighthouse jazz club in Hermosa Beach, California, which remains a periodic gig for the Cannonball Coltrane Project.

This great, swinging album will sooth the soul of every bop fan.

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