Thursday, August 11, 2005:

more Cannonball: Accent on Africa

Cannonball Adderley LP -- Accent on Africa
Cannonball Adderley -- Hamba Nami
Cannonball Adderley -- Gumba Gumba
"Hamba Nami" and "Gumba Gumba" are both from Accent on Africa, an LP produced by David Axelord and released on Capitol in 1968. There's no information on the LP about the crew, aside from Nat Adderley (courtesy Contemporary Records), though it credits Dick Brown as photographer and Axelrod as producer.

There is a bit of an explanation from Cannonball, though, stating that the compositions are Western, not traditional African music, and that they're "designed to show the influence rather than the pure form of African sources." There's also a brief explantion of each song, and a list of what kind of saxophone Cannonball used:

"Hamba Nami" -- means "walk with me" in Zulu. The composition feels similarly to a gospel walking song.

"Gumba Gumba" -- is a Pan-African expression meaning "Party Time" or "All-Night Session," and can be understood by any West African.

It's some exuberant, fiery work here: tight phrasing, driving percussion; the organ gives a solid backdrop; Cannonball's on point in his solos. In "Hamba Nami" he wanders a bit, but briskly, coming back to lock it down into an irresistible groove; in "Gumba Gumba" he's more of a tour guide, pointing out sights and interrelationships that most people might miss.

Cannonball used the Selmer Varitone on both of these tracks. Add that one to the Stitt and Harris recordings, I guess, and Coltrane's practice sessions at home.

There's a longer version of "Hamba Nami" on the Cannonball retrospective Phenix, which I don't have and haven't heard. From the sample at it sounds like the longer version has a rather different feel to it, and one that I'm not sure is an improvement.

This LP has some great music but is out of print; you can find it on ebay sometimes for fairly cheap.

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