Saturday, February 23, 2019

"Swingin' in Seattle" - Cannonball Adderley Quintet Live at the Penthouse 1966-67

© -Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.  

“The way I saw it, Julian was one of the most completely alive human beings I had ever encountered. Seeing and hearing him on the bandstand, you realized the several things that went to make up that aliveness: he was both figuratively and literally larger than life-sized; he was a multifaceted man and it seemed as if all those facets were constantly in evidence, churning away in front of you; and each aspect of him was consistent with every other part — so that you were automatically convinced that it was totally real and sincere, and you were instantly and permanently charmed.

That last paragraph is the emotional way of saying it; if I try real hard I can be more factual and objective. He was a big man and a joyous man. He was a player and a composer and a leader, and when someone else was soloing he was snapping his fingers and showing his enjoyment, and before and after the band's numbers he talked to the audience. (Not talking at them or just making announcements, but really talking to them and saying things about the music — some serious, some very witty.)

So all that whirlwind of varied activity was always going on when he was on the stand, and it all fitted together, and you never even considered the possibility that it could be an act. Of course it wasn't; it was (to use today's cliche) just Cannon doing his thing; and part of his thing was wanting you to enjoy yourself, and you did.”
- Orrin Keepnews, Jazz Record Producer, Author, Critic

“I'm grateful to have had a role in sharing these wonderful Cannonball Adderley recordings with you. As a child, I often listened to live Penthouse tapes with my father; he filled my head with stories about the Penthouse and the artists who played there. That's how I became obsessed with the music, the era and the club. I hope the release of this album will allow you to experience the magic of Cannonball's performances at the Penthouse and also to feel the excitement of actually being in the audience. As a collector myself, I know how important it is that the packaging and design live up to the source material, and I believe this album does just that.”
Los Angeles, August 2018

“STEVE GRIGGS: How did the Penthouse broadcasts originate?
JIM WILKE: The station came up with the idea. KING-FM saw itself as a showcase for the lively arts. We played all genres: folk, jazz, classical, plus plays and interviews with authors and painters. Our Penthouse show was really old-school radio — live broadcasts on location. People heard great music played right as they listened in their cars and they'd come to the club to catch the second set.
What was the Penthouse like in the 1960s?
Pioneer Square was undergoing a renaissance. Little places were opening up. There were some boutiques, cafes ...
And the World's Fair
Yes. That generated considerable activity. In 1962, Seattle really got a taste for international-level arts: the London Symphony, great ballet and two major theater companies. When the Penthouse appeared in the midst of all this, the station wanted to do something with them. We talked to the people at the Penthouse. They liked the idea. It became a regular thing. We did over 200 Penthouse shows.” ...

“I am so thrilled at the opportunity to work on what I think is an important archival release with Zev Feldman and his team. Cannonball Adderley's music has had a great impact on me as musician, not only as a saxophonist but as a frontman communicating with the audience. Swingin' in Seattle gives the listener a good idea of what it was like to be in the presence of this great musician at one of his shows. I'm particularly happy we've preserved much of Cannonball's between-tune banter. It makes it feel like you're sitting right there at the Penthouse in the front row. Cannonball's music embodies so many things, not the least of which are fun, joy, passion and swing — all the things I love. It has been an extreme pleasure to work on this release with Zev's team.”
- Cory Weeds, Executive Producer, Reel-to-Reel and Cellarlive

Listening to the music of Cannonball Adderley, particularly as expressed in the quintet [and sometime sextet] he co-led for over 20 years with his brother Nat, who favored the cornet over the trumpet, always makes me feel happy, joyous and free.

Needless to say then that the advent of more of it is always a welcome treat.

So imagine my delight when I learned that “Cannonball Adderley’s lost Seattle tapes [would] come to light on a new label.”

The label in question is Cory Weeds Reel to Real Recordings Ltd which you can locate more information about by visiting them online at

In this section of the insert notes from the booklet accompanying the CD, Zev Feldman explains how it all came about.


“I first learned about legendary Seattle Jazz DJ Jim Wilke and the collection of recorded broadcasts he made from his weekly radio program on KING-FM, Jazz from the Penthouse, in 2010. At the Resonance label, George Klabin had been in touch with Jim and explored releasing some of his rare tapes, so we got a glimpse into his extraordinary archive, a compendium of performances by a veritable Who's Who of the greatest of jazz artists in the world who happened to come to Seattle to play one of the Pacific Northwest's finest jazz clubs. To verify this, all you need to do is the look at the list of the artists who played there. It's pretty impressive. During the years of 1962 to 1968 Cannonball Adderley performed at the club eight times. You can tell Cannon liked playing at the Penthouse; just listen to the warmth he exudes when he speaks of the club and owner, Charlie Puzzo.

From the moment we heard them, George Klabin and I were always very high on the Cannonball Adderley performances. Thev were some of the very first recordings we seriously considered for Resonance's release of archival material. They captured the band in its prime. Then in 2012, we noticed a newly-issued Cannonball live recording from another company and we decided we didn't want to release more live Cannonball material at the same time. Cannonball's project was relegated to the back burner. We always thought the recordings were great and worthy of release, but the tapes sat there. Then I met a friend who wouldn't stop asking me about them .,,

In the spring of 2016 in Vancouver, I met up with Cory Weeds, a musician who was fascinated by the idea of unearthing previously unheard archival recordings by great jazz artists. Cory wanted to start his own historical jazz label, so we did. Together. Cory asked me about any unreleased tapes that I may know about. I mentioned in passing that George had these great recordings of Cannonball Adderley, and that we had done nothing with them. Something must have really stuck with Cory about this because he kept asking me over and over if we wanted them. Next thing I knew, these would become one of our first new releases on Cory's new label, Reel to Real Recordings.

For this, one of Reel to Real's inaugural releases, I was driven to build one of the greatest packages for Cannonball Adderley in his entire discography, and I was lucky to have at my disposal my design, production and editing team of Burton Yount, Zak Shelby-Szyszko and John Koenig, who have worked with me on numerous, highly acclaimed historical projects for Resonance and other labels.

First we worked with Jim Wilke and Charlie Puzzo, Jr. who provided high-resolution transfers of the original tapes. Then Cory and I selected the material. We personally felt it was important to focus on material from the same band and we reviewed recordings made in 1966 and '67 which had the same lineup: Cannonball and Nat Adderley, Joe Zawinul, Victor Gaskin and Roy McCurdy. Next, we contacted Olga Adderley Chandler, Cannonball's widow and the head of the Julian Adderley Estate. We want to express our gratitude to Mrs. Adderley Chandler for making this project possible. We were able to work with the other musician's families and then embarked on gathering the voices for this release.

Author and Cannonball enthusiast Bill Kopp leads with the main essay putting these recordings into context. Next up, Seattle musician and journalist Steve Griggs discusses these recordings and the club and everything in between with the guy who recorded these performances, KING-FM's Jim Wilke. I then chat with Olga Adderley Chandler to get her thoughts on her late husband, and Cory speaks with the drummer on the recordings, the great Roy McCurdy. Then included we have the next generation voice of an alto player who's clearly been influenced by Cannonball, and actually played in Nat's band, the great Vincent Herring. Lastly, Charlie Puzzo, Jr. shares his thoughts about the club his father ran.

These recordings constitute some of the very best unreleased Cannonball material out there. They speak to Cannonball's genius; they're an everlasting reminder of his greatness. A big part of my job is to find homes for important recordings such as these. Not everyone is up to the task of going through alf the steps it takes, but I'm thankful to have found a passionate partner in Cory Weeds who shares my dedication and vision to do this important work the right way. I want to thank everyone who participated in this project.”
Los Angeles. July 2018, co-producer for release with Cory Weeds

I could not locate any officially sanctioned videos or audio-only files, but I did find this YouTube of an earlier performance by Cannon’s group of Jimmy Heath’s Big P, which is the opening track on "Swingin' in Seattle" - Cannonball Adderley Quintet Live at the Penthouse 1966-67.

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