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Mercy, Mercy, Mercy
“Live At The Club”

Capitol Jazz ® CDP 7243 8 29915 2 6

1. Fun 8:26
(Nat Adderley)

2. Games 7:19
(Nat Adderley)

3. Mercy, Mercy, Mercy
(Josef Zawinul)

4. Sticks 3:54
(Julian Adderley)

5. Hippodelphia 5:49
(Josef Zawinul)

6. Sack O’ Woe
(Julian Adderley)

Cannonball Adderley – alto saxophone
Nat Adderley – Cornet
Joe Zawinul – piano, electric piano
Victor Gaskin – bass
Roy McCurdy – drums

Produced by David Axelrod
Recording Engineer: Hugh Davies
Recorded at Capitol Studios, Los Angeles on October 20, 1966

Reissue Produced by Michael Cuscuna
Remixed to Digital by Larry Walsh
Reissue Design by Franko Caligiuri

CAPITOL JAZZ is a registered trademark of Capitol Records, Inc. © (P) 1995 Capitol Records, Inc. Manufactured by Capitol Records, Inc., Hollywood and Vine Streets, Hollywood, CA. All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.

In the Twenties, Thirties, and Forties, the Club De Lisa was one of the swingingest spots in Chicago’s South Side. It shut down for a while. A little over a year ago, my friend and fellow deejay Pervis Spann and I had the pleasure of reopening it under our own management as The Club, and behold it’s wailin’ again! It never wailed more than it did on the five night Cannonball, Nat Adderley, Joe Zawinul, and the other musicians in the Quintet played their first stand for us – the first, we hope, of many. They played like blue smoke. They played like sweet preachin’. They played like nobody was ever going to without honey butter again.

The club seats 800. Cannonball drew in better than 1200 customers a night, and we were seating the overflow out in the lounge. Everybody went away gassed. That Quintet of his is five giants, all climbing up the beanstalk at once. Cannonball – I call him CannonBird because he says things musically in his own way like nobody has said things in his own way since Charlie Parker – is the tremendous alto sax talent of our day. Nat can cut anybody with his horn. Victor Gaskin on bass and Roy McCurdy on drums are the greatest. And how about the Joe Zawinul! An Austrian fellow you’d think would be at home playing pretty waltzes, and he comes here to the States and lays down jazz like he was the fellow who invented it.

The music the Quintet knock people out with is composed by themselves. Nat wrote “Fun” and “Games.” How’s that for a double header? Cannonball contributed “Sticks” and his jazz classic “Sack O’ Woe.” Joe Zawinul created “Hippodelphia” and the great hit that is used as the title of this album, “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!” this last may well be the finest night-lights composition since Avery Parish’s great “After Hours.” Joe plays it on the electric piano.

Capitol Records came into The Club one night before showtime, strung their equipment all over, and took a full evenings performance down on tape. That was one of those great and providential blessing of history. What if there’d been no publisher around to provide a typesetter when Tolstoy wrote “War and Peace”? No Sistine Chapel when Michelangelo got itchy to paint a ceiling? What my friend Cannonball did at The Club is now preserved forever, and it’ll be around a long, long time, as among the definitive works of a master. I’m proud the club played a part in it.

– E. Rodney Jones     
(original liner notes)    


Postscript to liner notes.

This album gave birth to a pop Top Ten single of the title tune, much to the astonishment of many including Cannonball Adderley and David Axelrod. Of course, Joe Zawinul’s slow, in-the-pocket groove was the essential element. It hit the public like it hit the enthusiastic and vocal audience present at the recording.

But that wasn’t an audience at The Club on a warm July night in Chicago. Rather, it was an invited audience (real people, no blasé music biz types) on a warm October night in Hollywood. As he’s done with great success on “Lou Rawls Live” a couple of years before, David Axelrod set up the massive Studio A on the ground floor of the Capitol Tower with seats and an open bar. The appreciative audience made this very much a live album. The studio setting guaranteed wonderful sound and the ability to repeat tunes in front of a non-paying, party-minded audience.

Deejay E. Rodney Jones of WVON, Chicago had opened The Club that year. Being one of the most powerful men in R&B radio as well as a friend of Cannon’s, he prevailed on the alto saxophonist to help him establish his new venue. Adderley, notoriously generous to his friends and savvy career-wise, came up with the ruse to pretend this album was recorded in Jones’s club.

The Club didn’t last, but the album remains a jazz classic and one of the greatest uncompromising crossover successes in the history of this music

– Michael Cuscuna    

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