John Helliwell

One LP: Cannonball Takes Charge by Cannonball Adderley

John Helliwell

Back when I was 13/14 I was a clarinet player…because of traditional jazz. Then, through the medium of the radio – the old fashioned radio – I heard some bits and pieces of modern jazz and I wasn’t too sure about it. But when I heard Cannonball Adderley he totally convinced me.

I saved up and bought an alto saxophone. The first album I bought of modern jazz – apart from Acker Bilk and stuff before that, was this Riverside album called Cannonball Takes Charge and it just completely mesmerised me.

It’s a straight forward quartet album from Cannonball himself … piano, bass, drums and saxophone. He uses two different bass and drums sections: Paul Chambers, Jimmy Cobb on some and Percy Heath and Albert Heath on other tracks. Always with Wynton Kelly on the piano and Julian Cannonball Adderley on the alto saxophone.

He made many really great albums but this is the first one that really stuck out for me and it was a big influence in my life. I play all the saxophones and concentrate more on tenor nowadays but that was my original inspiration.