Acoustic Sounds

Cannonball Adderley with Bill Evans

Know what I mean?



Know What I Mean? Cannonball Adderley with Bill Evans

Label: Craft OJC/Riverside

Produced By: Orrin Keepnews

Engineered By: Bill Stoddard

Lacquers Cut By: Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio

By: Michael Fremer

February 26th, 2024





For a Good Time Call Cannonball

a joyful reunion plus 1/2 of the MJQ & great sound make for an efficacious OJC reissue

The obi says the Adderley/Evans "reunion" was "Cannonball"'s idea, something I didn't know when I picked up a Japanese repress for $3.98 at Record Surplus back in the mid-80s during the era of the great "vinyl record replacement dump"—and what a great time it was for those who recognized the CD folly for what it was!

The cover shot doesn't have Julian appearing all that happy posing with his horn in front of some art that included a cube featuring a snippet of an Evans photo that appears to be the one used for the Sunday at the Village Vanguard album that was recorded three months after the final session that produced this one. This album wasn't released until the fall of 1962, so that makes sense (the liner notes here refer to the Waltz For Debby LP).

But for $3.98 I picked it up and was not disappointed, despite the cover face that made this appear to be a chore of a session arranged by producer Keepnews and performed by Adderley by obligation not by choice. Once I got home and read the liner notes I knew that this was a Cannonball-produced session overseen by Keepnews, so the joyful music makes complete sense. The photo is the outlier.

Of course Adderley and Evans played together just a few years earlier on that record and Evans was only in Miles's group for a few months so calling this a "reunion" is a bit much. The addition of The Modern Jazz Quartet's bassist Percy Heath and drummer Connie Kay gave fans of that group's tuxedoed formalism and chance to hear the two in a very different setting.

The album opens with "Waltz For Debby", which when this was recorded had yet to be put to tape at the Village Vanguard, but did appear as a solo effort on New Jazz Conceptions Evan's 1957 Riverside debut.

It's as much a joy to groove on Kay's and Heath's understated support as it is to dig Evans and of course Adderley who smooth talks, flows with vibrato and coos his way through most of this album as Coltrane did on Ballads recorded at roughly the same time. The group here also records "Nancy (with the Laughing Face) as well as Benny Goodman's sign-off tune Gordon Jenkins' "Goodbye" and John Lewis's "Venice".

The group's take on the Gershwin Brothers' "Who Cares" is an uptempo romp that's followed by the leisurely Lewis-penned side closer. Evans and Heath conspire right and left to keep Adderley in a swinging space in between. A lovely side ender for sure.

Side two opens on an uptempo number, Clifford Jordan's "Toy", giving Adderley some room to blow and Evans space to hit the keyboard more forcefully. It's as close to a Parker vibe as the record gets. The group covers Earl Zindars' "Elsa", probably at Evans' suggestion. They were army buds and Evans recorded the song on his Riverside album Explorations produced at Bell Sound during this albums production time frame.

That's followed by an expressive, lingering take on "Nancy (with the Laughing Face) followed by an Evans original written at Adderley's suggestion during the recording. It starts on a simmer and then picks up a load of dazzle with Connie Kay doing some rhythmic announcing unlike what you encounter on MJQ records. if you were lulled into the earlier mood, this change will "un-lull" you! Aided by a ridiculously excellent drum kit recording.

Why stop there? This is an overall ridiculously fine recording, which is notable because some Riversides were not. This one recorded at Bell Sound is notably fine, especially Adderley's sax, which majestically floats center stage, and if your system can capture it, in a well defined space. Heath's bass is well-captured as is Evans' piano and as previously noted, so is Kay's drum kit.

It's a recording to love and Kevin Gray's mastering is doubly to love, especially compared to the Japanese reissue I've been listening to all these years (SMJ-6051), which, despite the pressing excellence, sounds like what it is: cut from a later generation tape—dullsville by comparison.

An excellent Kevin Gray cut reissue using the original master tapes of a "pick up group" that meshed from the opening downbeat and delivers an album's worth of mainstream jazz pleasure. Highly recommended.

Music Specifications

Catalog No: CR00716

Pressing Plant: RTI


Speed/RPM: 33 1/3

Weight: 180 grams

Size: 12"

Channels: Stereo

Source: original master tapes

Presentation: Single LP


  • 2024-02-26 04:47:26 PM

    Come on wrote:

    No AP45 comparison? Will do when the Craft arrives. Not rarely those old AP45’s have a little more magic and enveloping instrument sound while the new Craft‘s or the later AP33 (e.g. Prestige) have more definition and control.

    Not the more clear worse/better situation as with the very first three AP45 Blue Notes vs. Music Matters 33 RPM (which was again more unclear between the later MM45 vs. MM33).

    My experience is: KG’s meanwhile much improved mastering chain only in some cases leads to completely better results vs. older SH/KG or KG reissues. Often it depends what one focuses on and it’s interesting to have both of such releases to compare.

    • 2024-02-27 08:20:21 PM

      Bret wrote:

      Do you think the first three AP45 Blue Notes were a lot better than the Music Matters 33 RPM reissues? Which titles were these?

      • 2024-02-28 05:46:25 AM

        Come on wrote:

        No, the opposite. The first four AP45 Blue Notes (Midnight Blue, Something Else, Blue Train, Page One), when SH seems to have dominated EQ‘ing, were clearly worse sounding imo than later MM titles. Don’t get me wrong, I admire the work of SH, especially but not only for Pop/Rock, also his contribution to the Fantasy catalog, but those first Blue Notes were bettered clearly by the later MM33 titles.

        Then the MM45 began and before SH seems to have left the project some time in 2009, they stayed soso and where still bettered by MM33 more or less clearly. After that I perceived EQ changes of KG, which made the MM45 more similar to the later MM33, especially those MM45 released after his cabling changes in 2011. The MM33 then certainly also benefited from his electronics changes in 2012\2013, but imo this didn’t make all MM33 sound better throughout than the later MM45. That’s what I hear and meant. Same is valid imo for newer Prestige AP33 vs. previous Prestige AP45. It may depend a bit on focus and setup, but I think quite some will roughly prefer the enveloping and bold midrange, as well as the 45RPM advantages of the later 45‘s, while hearing more transparency, transient response and bass control from the 33‘s.

        This should also answer your following question.

        • 2024-02-28 08:03:49 PM

          Bret wrote:

          Thanks! This is very helpful. I have just about all of the Prestige AP45s but I find it hard to justify replacing them with the 33s... Have you compared the Music Matters and Analogue Productions reissues of Lee Morgan's Sidewinder, Herbie Hancock's Maiden Voyage, Art Blakey's Moanin', Grant Green's Idle Moments, and Lou Donaldson's Blues Walk as well? I was wondering if you think any of those are better on the Analogue Productions 45 RPM reissues...

    • 2024-02-27 08:21:14 PM

      Bret wrote:

      In which cases do you think KG's new mastering is completely better than older SH/KG and KG reissues?

  • 2024-02-27 02:14:23 AM

    Dor Avidan wrote:

    The OG pressing’s sound was lacking, as with many Riverside recordings (as you mentioned), and the vinyl quality wasn’t so good. Hope to pick up this one soon to improve. Musically it deserves a better presentation

  • 2024-02-27 04:23:06 AM

    tim davis wrote:

    Eagerly awaiting the release of this one for sure. I preordered the 3 lp bundle as soon as I read the release announcement onthis very site. To date my favorite Cannonball release is "Things are Getting Better" with Milt Jackson which I picked up a reissue of in a small shop in Raleigh, NC for a song about a decade ago.

  • 2024-02-27 08:33:58 PM

    Todd wrote:

    Would have loved to see how you played your vinyl in your car back in the day. CDs were just fine for what they were.

  • 2024-02-28 06:32:28 PM

    Bob Donnelly wrote:

    Excellent session and amazing recording. I can't say I've heard a bad version of this. If you don't have a copy of this, you should!