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julian adderley - in san francisco - front

Discographical Details

Artist: Julian Cannonball Adderley.
Title: In San Francisco.
Label and Catalogue Number: Riverside RLP 12-311.
Personnel: Julian Cannonball Adderley (alto sax); Nat Adderley (cornet); Bobby Timmons (piano); Sam Jones (bass); Louis Hayes (drums).
Side 1: This Here; Spontaneous Combustion.
Side 2: Hi-Fly; You Got It!; Bohemia After Dark.
Recording Date: 18 and 20 October 1959 at The Jazz Workshop, San Francisco, California, USA.

Listening Notes

julian adderley - in san francisco - rear

In a tragic coincidence, I had already selected this record as the subject of my next posting before the sad news of Orrin Keepnews’ recent death. I can’t think of any finer tribute to Keepnews than to include this video in which he recalls the circumstances under which he signed Adderley to Riverside and how this date came to be recorded.

It falls to few records to have the honour of being the genesis of a movement in music. Yet just such a claim can be made for In San Francisco and its place in the rise of the soul jazz style; it also heralded a revitalised vogue for live in concert recordings. To me, it’s no coincidence that a quintet fronted by brothers Julian and Nat should manage both these achievements. The Adderleys represent perhaps the most finely honed balance between the struggle for artistic integrity and the desire to please an audience.

It hardly seems radical now, but Keepnews’ decision to open Side 1 with one minute and 20 seconds of Julian Adderley speaking to the audience was unheard of at the time. Yet this rapport and keenness to explain his music to the public was an endearing hallmark of Adderley’s career. With the talking over, the band hit the accelerator hard to the floor and don’t let up for the whole of the side. “For reasons of soul” and for plenty of others besides, This Here is an instant classic from the first second that Timmons’ sanctified fingers make contact with the keyboard. There’s hardly time to draw breath before Spontaneous Combustion, for which I can hardly think of a more apt title. How exhilarating it must have been to be inside the cramped and hot Jazz Workshop on the night of this recording and experience the exuberant fraternal call and response routine between Julian’s alto and Nat’s cornet that both launches and climaxes this cut.

Side 2 is also graced by another spoken introduction from Adderley senior and shows his willingness to promote the music of young composers, even those not in his employ. The beneficiary this time is pianist Randy Weston as Hi-Fly gets the treatment. Next we get You Got It! which, despite the embellishment of an exclamation mark, is probably the least interesting performance on the record for me. Proceedings close with a nod to another famous jazz venue of the 1950s as the band do justice to Oscar Pettiford’s Bohemia After Dark.

Apparently, Time magazine credited this LP with 50,000 sales inside a year which, if accurate, puts the number of copies pressed an order of magnitude higher than many other jazz records at the time. So finding inexpensive copies shouldn’t be too much of a chore. However, finding well preserved copies might prove more challenging. Mine’s in excellent shape with a few crackles at the start of each side during the quiet spoken introductions. But you might prefer the lure of modern re-issues some of which include bonus tracks like Straight No Chaser and alternate takes of This Here and You Got It!

For Collectors Only

julian adderley - in san francisco - labels

Side 1 has a blue and silver small (92mm diameter) reels and microphone deep groove “BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS” (no “INC”) label and a faint hand etched “RLP-12-311A” matrix number. Side 2 has the same label with an equally faint hand etched “RLP-12-311B-2” matrix number. The cover is non-laminated and has the “553 West 51st Street New York 19, N.Y.” address.

The cover address is anomolously early for this catalogue number but in all other respcts this looks like a first pressing. Though I’m slightly cautious about that claim if there really were 50,000 copies sold in the first year following release!