Eddie 'Cleanhead' Vinson (vcl, as), Nat Adderley (cnt), Cannonball Adderley (as), Joe Zawinul (p), Sam Jones (b), Louis Hayes (d)
Reference: FSRCD 794
Bar code: 8427328607940
One of the most exciting of the blues shouters ever was Texas-born Eddie 'Cleanhead' Vinson (1917-1988) whose declamatory style and big, virile voice had the intensity and impact of such other greats as Joe Turner and Jimmy Rushing.
But Vinson was also a musician of much wider scope; he was one of the first altoists outside the bebop inner circle to absorb the innovations of Charlie Parker, while Coltrane worked in his band in 1952-1953. After a spell off the scene, he was signed by altoist Cannonball Adderley to record for Riverside Records, the label for which Adderley himself worked.
Back Door Blues is the result of two successful sessions in 1961-2, on which the Cannonball Adderley Quintet offered Cleanhead a solid, spirited, blues-rooted foundation for his earthy singing and basic, pure-lined, lyrical alto. With both Cannonball and Nat Adderley also in prime form, Joe Zawinul delivering funk without triteness, and Sam Jones and Louis Hayes completing an idiomatically flexible rhythm section that combined sophistication with implacable swing, it was a reminder of just how good Vinson was at both aspects of his art.
"Heres a soulful team for you. Eddie Cleanhead Vinson who basically defined the blues alto sax, joins together with the bopping funk and gospel specialist Cannonball Adderley with a prime time band of Nat Adderley/ct, Joe Zawinul/p, Sam Jones/b and Louis Hayes/dr. Recorded in 1961, the album (and bonus tracks) consist of Vinson on vocals with Cannonball on the horn, or Vinson on the alto and the heavyweight saxist sitting out the tune. You could complain about not hearing both altos sparring for a few rounds, but you still get a lot of good times, with Vinson laying down the law on Bright Lights, Big City, Person to Person a moanin Back Door Blues and Just a Dream while Cannonball fills in with some warm licks. Vinson aint no slouch on the sax either, having a good time with the band on Vinsonology and Bernices Bounce. and a cooking take of Arriving Soon that doesnt miss the leader. The band bounces like a pinball game, complete with flappers snapping up the ball for a new go round. Tight and blue as fresh washed jeans."
George Harris (January 27, 2014)
"During these two sessions, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson was joined by the Cannonball Adderley Quintet. Five of the ten selections here were previously unissued. On Vinson's vocal numbers, he is backed by altoist Cannonball Adderley, cornetist Nat Adderley, pianist Joe Zawinul, bassist Sam Jones, and drummer Louis Hayes. Unfortunately, on the instrumentals and the one vocal tune on which he also plays ("Kidney Stew"), Vinson is the only altoist, as Cannonball sits out. Despite these missed opportunities, the music on this release is quite worthy, with Cleanhead in top form on such numbers as "Person to Person" and "Just a Dream."
Scott Yanow -All Music Guide