Luther Hughes and the Cannonball Coltrane Project: Things Are Getting Better
What does an acoustic bass player have in common with Star Trek's Deep Space 9 series? Luther Hughes appeared in six episodes playing bass in a holographic band in an imaginary 1962 jazz club. Three years before, in real life, Cannonball Adderley and John Coltrane recorded what became a landmark album – The Cannonball Adderley Quintet in Chicago. Barely a couple of years after the turn of the century, that same album would inspire a “trekkie geek” to re-create and perform the original arrangements.
It worked so well, Luther Hughes and the Cannonball Coltrane Project (CCP) is about to release their fourth CD, Things Are Getting Better. Once again, drawing on inspiration from a Cannonball Adderley album of the same title. Adderley's recording dates to 1959 and along with Cannonball, includes an all-star cast of Milt Jackson on vibes, Wynton Kelly on piano, Percy Heath on bass and Art Blakey on drums. The listener must wait until track ten to hear an inspired yet loyal cover of the title song.
Things Are Getting Better opens with “Jive Samba” (arranged by Hughes) and contains twelve tracks, seven of which were composed by CCP members. All original compositions are tight and cleverly arranged. Saxophonist Bruce Babad composed and arranged “Primrose Star” which contains a reference to “Stars Fell On Alabama” found on the album that provided the original inspiration for the CCP. In addition to the opening and title tracks, my favorite is the cover of “Blue Daniel”, covered by Cannonball on Live at the Lighthouse (1960). “Take the Coltrane”, a Duke Ellington tribute to one of the great saxophone men closes out the CD.Continued on the next page