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"Things Are Getting Better", New CD by Luther Hughes & the Cannonball-Coltrane Project

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Luther Hughes "It all started as I was sitting around one day listening to The Cannonball Adderley Quintet in Chicago, a landmark album recorded in 1959. This album was the only time Cannonball and Coltrane appeared together on record other than their work with Miles Davis. As I was listening to this album I thought it might be fun to re-create and perform the original arrangements.

While I was mulling over this idea, two dear friends came to mind—Glenn Cashman and Bruce Babad—who were big fans of both Cannonball and Trane. For the rhythm section, I called upon two old friends, Tom Ranier and Paul Kreibich. (In 2004, when Tom was unavailable for a gig, I asked Ed Czach to help us out. I couldn't have made a better call, as you can hear on our CDs).

Everyone was as interested in this idea as I was, so we all did our homework on our individual parts, we played our first gig on June 20, 2002, and the audience response was overwhelming.

After a couple of gigs doing just the original material, the question was, “Where do we go from here?" After that original 1959 LP and their stint with Miles, Cannonball and Trane went on to develop their own identities even more. Cannonball got funky and played some of the first “fusion." Trane went on to write “Giant Steps," and then explored other directions, incorporating his spiritual side and the avant-garde. These different directions opened up so many possibilities for us. We have their entire musical lives to draw upon for inspiration, both in the writing of our own compositions and in the selection and arranging of classic jazz standards identified in some way with Cannonball or Coltrane. The only limit was our imaginations (which we let run wild) and our four CDs are the result.

As Tom Ranier put it, 'Tribute albums are only successful if they are interpretive—that is, not a copy, but rather the players' interpretations, impressions and feelings of the original.'

THINGS ARE GETTING BETTER is our fourth CD and we continue to pay tribute to Cannonball and Coltrane. We think this is our best work and hope you enjoy it."—Luther Hughes


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