Cannonball Adderley was one tasteful mother fucker, and I mean that in the traditional sense. Hard bop and soul dripped from that guy’s alto like the water from my bathroom sink, which is to claim maybe even when he wasn’t using it. He and his band are in such fantastic shape on this record that its no surprise it has become a classic. Mercy, Mercy, Mercy! spawned a Top 40 hit in 1966, not too shabby for a Jazz artist who wasn’t Louis Armstrong. And not surprising either when you give it a listen. The title track is pure blues and gospel drenched soul played by stellar jazz musicians. The rest of the record is blues and gospel re-imagined by stellar jazz musicians. Unlike a lot of my other favorite jazz albums though, there isn’t a single standard on here. No, instead we are given a quality of songwriting on this record that is incredible. And I mean it when I say songs, though there is plenty of space for improvisation there is a clear and quite excellent structure to each composition. The always groovy producer David Axelrod I’m sure lent a hand to the great arrangements on this record when he wasn’t busy tending bar in the fake club he set up in Capitol studios while tracking it.