LIVE AT DIZZY’S CLUB: THE MUSIC OF ELVIN & McCOY
Gerald Cannon, bass/composer; Lenny White, drums; Dave Kikoski, piano; Steve Turre, trombone; Joe Lovano, tenor saxophone; Sherman Irby, alto saxophone; Eddie Henderson, trumpet.
When you put together an all-star group of musicians to play the music of Elvin Jones and McCoy Tyner, what else do you expect, except an album of excellence? Recorded ‘live’ at the famed Jazz at Lincoln Center venue, veteran jazz bassist, Gerald Cannon tributes his deep connection and respect for McCoy and Elvin. Cannon played alongside both these jazz icons for fourteen years and nine years respectively. Gerald’s longstanding affiliation with both these masters makes him the perfect person to record this album of homage and respect. A phenomenal bassist in his own right, Cannon was the common denominator that held the rhythm sections together in both McCoy’s band and Elvin’s band.
Gerald Cannon was born in Racine, Wisconsin, where one of his mentors was Milt Hinton. The young musician relocated to NYC at age twenty-eight. It wasn’t long before he was on the A-list of bass players being called by notable jazz legends like Cedar Walton, Dexter Gordon, Little Jimmy Scott, Frank Foster, Stanley Turrentine, Eddie Harris, and a bunch of others. He joined drummer Elvin Jones’ group after leaving the Roy Hargrove band and stayed with Elvin until his passing in 2004.
Cannon opens this album with “EJ’s Blues,” written by Elvin Jones himself, and thickened by Cannon’s smokin’ hot horn section. On Track #2, Eddie Henderson’s sweet, emotional trumpet sets the tone on the introduction of an original Cannon composition titled, “Three Elders.” It’s a ballad that he wrote and dedicated to his former musical partner and pianist, the late Larry Willis. This is followed by “Three Card Molly” written by Elvin Jones where Joe Lovano snatches the spotlight on tenor saxophone before passing the moment to Eddie Henderson and then to Dave Kikoski who puts the “S” in Straight-ahead and ‘Swing’ during his piano solo. Afterwards, Gerald Cannon steps front and center on his double bass to show the world why genius musicians, including Roy Hargrove, McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones wanted Cannon in their rhythm section. This current ensemble plays beautifully on “Search For Peace” a familiar McCoy tune. One of my favorite songs by Tyner is “Blues in the Minor” where Cannon pumps his bass, walking briskly, step by step with Lenny White’s power drums during this driving arrangement.
As an educator, Gerald Cannon is part of the Oberlin Conservatory Jazz Faculty. He has taught at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, The New School, Long Island University, the Conservatory of Maastricht in Holland, and the Juilliard School. When he isn’t recording, touring, or teaching, Cannon somehow finds time to paint, offering a variety of vibrant, colorful, abstract works as a visual artist.
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A CD Review by Dee Dee McNeil
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