Shannon Marshall, The music of Cannonball Adderley – Friday November 16 2018

When five of Brisbane’s finest musicians come together to share their mutual love of the music and style of a Jazz legend, history is recreated. History is re-lived.

Tonight, with the Club’s Time Machine set to New York: 1960’s, Shannon Marshall, Brad McCarthy, Wil Sargisson, Nick Quigley and Paul Hudson stepped on to the stage and led us on a flawless journey through the Soul Jazz of alto sax man, Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley.

Brad on alto sax, was blowing hot for Cannonball.

Shannon on flugelhorn, was just as hot for cornet-playing younger brother, Nat Adderley. Shannon also provided vocals on several Ernie Andrews songs. (Ernie, still with us in 2018, and now in his early 90’s, was a sometime singer with Cannonball).

Wil was sublime at the keys for Joe Zawinul. Nick and Paul stood in perfectly for several bass men and drummers from various Cannonball-led quintet and sextet combinations.

Tonight’s performance came to be because Nat Adderley was a major influence on the development of Shannon’s own musicianship and style.

This influence, and Shannon’s love of the music, led him to dream of one day putting together a combo with the skill and shared enthusiasm to faithfully recreate the Cannonball Adderley music and feel.

Shannon was always ready to step into the role of Nat, but he desperately needed a Cannonball. Brad and Shannon had played together years earlier and shared their enthusiasm for the music…so who better than Big Brad McCarthy?

But Brad headed south to Melbourne. Shannon’s dream was parked…until Brad eventually returned to Brisbane.

After tonight, the rest is Brisbane Jazz Club history!!

And what a night!!

The skills of these five musicians and their shared enthusiasm for the music, were powerfully evident in a performance that was classy, tight and seamless.

The power and precision that Nat and Cannonball epitomised at their peak, was at centre stage tonight. Shannon and Brad poured their souls and their skills into an outstanding performance, weaving a night that was unmistakeably and absolutely true to the spirit of the Cannonball legacy.

And not only were they great to listen to…they were fascinating to watch, too.

Every inch of Brad’s frame was on the move, as he blew out those Cannonball classics.

Shannon, was his usual cool, whether blowing or singing. And when grooving along with a fellow band member’s solo, his why-would-I-be-doing-anything-else smile was beaming!!

Wil was at his smiling, immersed and connected best on the keys. Known as a master of New Orleans stride piano, tonight he showed us just how much at home he is with these Funk and Soul Jazz styles.

Nick was calmly, gently intense and in touch on the upright bass, while the often dour Hitman Hudson, was almost dancing on his stool behind that drum kit.

The band’s set-list included many of their idol’s best known tunes, including…

  • Cannonball Adderley’s ‘Sticks’.
  • Nat Adderley’s ‘Fun’ and ‘The Work Song’.

In introducing ‘Fun’, Shannon remarked, ‘I’m glad I’m not in the Rhythm Section for this one’ and laughingly called for a paramedic at the end of it.

  • Joe Zawinul’s ‘Walk Tall’, ‘Mercy Mercy Mercy’ and ‘Yvette’.

The latter introduced as Shannon’s favourite Cannonball ballad.

  • ‘The Jive Samba’ and ‘Groovy Samba’.

The band started at the top of their game, yet somehow managed to get better as the night progressed.

And at the end of the evening, when the audience screamed for an encore, a clearly cooked Shannon remarked, ‘None of you have ever played trumpet, have you?’

The reply?    ‘How hard can it be? You make it look soooo easy’.

The band relented and finished with the oh, so funky ‘Mini Mama’. It blew the roof off!!

Audience comments from BJC regulars included, ‘Some of the most exciting Jazz that I have heard here for some time’ and ‘One of the most enjoyable nights at the Jazz Club, for ages’.

Eventually, we had to reset the Time Machine to 2018…and send them all home happy!!

Alan Smith

Brisbane Jazz Club