In the spring of 2016, Zev Feldman (producer and co-president of Resonance Records) met up with Canadian jazz impresario and saxophonist Cory Weeds for a series of shows at Frankie’s jazz club in Vancouver centered around a series of historical releases on Resonance. It was during this time that the seed was planted to establish a new label dedicated to finding and preserving important historical jazz recordings.
Zev Feldman explains, “Cory was fascinated by the idea of unearthing previously unheard archival recordings by great jazz artists. There are so many great recordings out there that deserve to be heard and Cory wanted to offer up another home for them. When I mentioned to him in passing that I had come across some Cannonball Adderley tapes from the 1960s a while back, he was immediately interested in seeing how he could release them on what would become his new label venture, Reel to Real. To say he was excited by the prospect is a major understatement.”
Fast forward to the present and the label’s co- inaugural release, Swingin’ in Seattle: Live at the Penthouse (1966-1967) has hit the market. The album is a set of previously unissued live recordings of the Cannonball Adderley Quintet featuring Cannonball’s brother and cornetist Nat Adderley, pianist Joe Zawinul, bassist Victor Gaskin and drummer Roy McCurdy. recorded over the course of 4 nights between 1966 and 1967 at the legendary Penthouse jazz club in Seattle, Washington. This is the very same band that recorded the classic Mercy, Mercy, Mercy! Live at “The Club” album on Capitol Records on October 20, 1966, and it captures the quintet in rare form at the height of their most powerful swingin’.
Cory Weeds says, “Cannonball Adderley’s music has had a great impact on me as a musician, not only as a saxophonist but as a frontman communicating with an 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 so thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with Zev’s team to give this release the deluxe treatment it so deserves.”
The deluxe double-LP and CD packages for Swingin’ in Seattle are beautifully designed by longtime Resonance Records designer Burton Yount, and include extensive booklets containing rare photos by Lee Tanner, Tom Copi and others. Music journalist and veteran liner note writer Bill Kopp contributes the featured essay placing Cannonball’s music in historical context. Seattle radio DJ and the original engineer of the Penthouse, Jim Wilke, is interviewed by Seattle-based saxophonist and jazz writer Steve Griggs about what the scene was like at the Penthouse in the 1960s and about Cannonball’s relationship to the club over the years. And rounding out the packages are words form Cannonball’s widow and head of the Julian Adderley estate, Olga Adderley Chandler, and acclaimed saxophonist Vincent Herring.
Jazz collectors may already be familiar with the name Jim Wilke from two other recent archival recordings on Resonance Records – Groovin’ Hard by The Three Sounds feat. Gene Harris and Smokin’ in Seattle by Wes Montgomery & The Wynton Kelly Trio. Wilke had a front-row seat for countless shows at the Penthouse he captured between 1962-1968 for his radio broadcasts on KING- FM. He describes the Penthouse broadcasts as, “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.” Cannonball Adderley played the Penthouse 8 times during the club’s 6- year run, and was one of its most popular acts.
For a glimpse into the personal side of Cannonball, Zev Feldman interviewed his widow, Olga Adderley Chandler, a former actress who was married to him from 1962-1975. Chandler describes Cannonball as, “Very intelligent. He had eclectic taste. And he was very articulate and very witty. And very sweet to be with.” Drummer Roy McCurdy adds, “He was very smart. Not just about music but lots of different things. He had a big personality. His stage banter came from being an educator. He wanted the audience to be informed. He wanted to involve them.”
Cory Weeds interviewed fellow saxophonist Vincent Herring, who has recorded with Nat Adderley’s quintet and the Cannonball Adderley Legacy Band, to shed light on what impact Cannonball has had the generations of saxophonists that came after him. Herring explains, “Cannonball could play something and it was so sophisticated for all of us jazz snobs, but at the same time, for the down-home folk, it felt just right.”
“A big part of my job is to find homes for important recordings such as these,” says Zev Feldman at the close of his liner note essay. “Not everyone is up to the task of going through all 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.”
The album is available on CD and 180-gram vinyl mastered by Bernie Grundman.
The album is now available at all the standard points of sale.
Last modified: January 30, 2019