CANNONBALL ADDERLEY — Somethin' Else

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CANNONBALL ADDERLEY - Somethin' Else cover
4.33 | 16 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1958

Tracklist

A1 Autumn Leaves 10:58
A2 Love for Sale 7:03
B1 Somethin' Else 6:53
B2 One for Daddy-O 8:25
B3 Dancing in the Dark 4:04

CD bonus track:
6. Bangoon (5:05)

Total Time: 44:02

Line-up/Musicians

- Cannonball Adderley / alto saxophone
- Miles Davis / trumpet
- Hank Jones / piano
- Sam Jones / Bass
- Art Blakey / Drums

About this release

Blue Note BLP 1595 (US)

Recorded on March 9, 1958,Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey

Thanks to snobb, dreadpirateroberts, Chicapah, js for the updates

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CANNONBALL ADDERLEY SOMETHIN' ELSE reviews

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dreadpirateroberts
Accounts of who exactly takes the lion's share of leadership duties between Davis and Adderley on 'Somethin' Else' is up for discussion, but I'd like to sidestep that here and suggest that no matter who, it's one of the best jazz albums out there.

Part of that claim must fall upon Adderley's shoulders. All the great jazz records have skillful and intuitive sidemen. Some even have other leaders as sidemen who share the load. Most truly great jazz albums even have brilliant material - whether that comes in the form of standards, arrangement or composition.

But not all have the warmth and heart that Adderley brings to a solo. His phrasing is not overdrawn on these songs. It seems intuitive, seems right. As a listener, you can find it hard to imagine a solo or a phrase in a different way. Throughout the album he oozes confidence and a warmth that is just as effective in contrasting Miles here, as it is on 'Kind of Blue.'

Opening with a monstrously fine reading of 'Autumn Leaves' we see everything already in sync. Soloists move in and out of the spotlight with grace and a wonderful sense of timing, and the rhythm section never misses a cue. Hank Jones' solo toward the end of the piece just floats out of the speakers. Actually, it's one of my favourite short solos, hands down. I wish it were longer every time I hear it.

After opening cool, the band gradually work their way to harder bop, with 'Love for Sale' kicking things up a notch and then Miles doing it again with the title track - which begins with a little call and response between him and Adderley, before the trumpeter takes the lead, dropping away in time for Blakey to egg Adderley into his own solo, as he rolls the beat on with some extra notes on the ride cymbal. 'One for Daddy-O' is another deceptively placid mid-tempo piece that actually contains some of the more nimble work from Adderley, while 'Dancing in the Dark' is treated to a languid but hardly dull rendition, graced by Cannonball's warmth and sophistication. Here Davis does not appear - in fact, no-one else takes a solo here, it's a complete Julian showcase.

This is a cooler set of hard bop than other records in the genre. It's less frenetic than some work in the bop genre and can be quite soothing, but the solos are still extended. Fans of the Cool Jazz genre might still like to check this one out, and it might be a little too calm for fans of really hard bop. But for anyone who enjoys Davis' or Adderley's work, well, you've probably already got this one.

Note: the CD edition includes a bonus track by the same lineup, 'Bangoon/Alison's Uncle' and is probably the hardest piece present, complete with a solo from Art.
Chicapah
If you’re anything like me one of your life’s ambitions involves continuing to consciously expand your knowledge and awareness of the jazz universe one album at a time (a quest that inherently has no end) as you slowly but surely accumulate more and more wrinkles with the passing of the years. During this ongoing listening and learning experience one naturally becomes jaded at times as one wades through what might be referred to as “average” fare (although jazz music in general and by necessity requires that an above-average ability be possessed by its purveyors in comparison to, say, the members of a Kiss tribute band) that’s pleasant enough to willingly absorb into one’s eardrums without resistance yet doesn’t exactly twinkle one’s toes. But every so often you come across a record that so embodies and exemplifies what you love about jazz that it sticks out head and shoulders above the norm and you happily sit through it with a knowing and approving smile on your mug that can’t be wiped away. That’s what happened to me the first time I heard Julius “Cannonball” Adderley’s highly regarded album from 1958, “Somethin’ Else.” When jazz is done right there’s hardly anything that can equal it as far as the intrinsic satisfaction it generously applies to one’s soul and psyche.

Lest you be unfamiliar with Mr. Adderley or, because of his unusual nickname, be prone to downplay his influence and impact on modern jazz it should be pointed out that he was respected enough to be asked to perform right next to John Coltrane on two of Miles Davis’ seminal LPs in the 50s, “Milestones” and “Kind of Blue.” In fact, the mutual admiration society that existed between Cannonball and Miles was what led to Davis being cordially invited not only to be a major contributor to this album but to help select the music that would be featured. Though Miles wasn’t keen on doing sessions that had anything to do with the Blue Note record label, his admiration for Adderley led him to make an exception on March 9, 1958 and join him and his trio of professionals inside the Van Gelder studio in Hackensack, New Jersey to cut six tracks. And the rest, as they say, is history.

The album starts with one of the most transcendent versions of the Joseph Kosma classic, “Autumn Leaves,” that you’ll ever hear. It has a somewhat mysterious opening as Hank Jones’ piano, Art Blakey’s drums and Sam Jones’ upright bass lay down an ever so subtle shuffle followed by some striking horn accents. Davis steps up and plays the timeless melody on his trumpet as smoothly as one can possibly imagine and then Cannonball takes over to decorate the song with a slew of sumptuous variations and thrilling runs on his alto sax. Miles was a Zen master of the art of not overplaying his hand and he proves it on the silky solo he delivers here. Hank’s piano is tactful and dreamy throughout the tune and it all adds up to eleven minutes of bliss. Their rendition of Cole Porter’s “Love For Sale” is next. It begins with flowing piano and then the combo abruptly kicks it into a higher yet not nerve-rattling gear. Davis is once again coyly delicate in his approach but Blakey’s short drum interludes are spunky and entertaining, keeping the energy level on the up and up. Adderley’s ride is rambunctious and sprightly but still firmly grounded in good taste at the same time. Miles’ “Somethin’ Else” follows. On this number the tight rhythm section of Art and Sam lays down an easy-going swing feel that solidly supports Hank’s light piano chords while Cannonball and Davis demonstrate why they took back seats to absolutely no one in that era. They take turns peeling the paint off the studio walls, then play together in close proximity without ever coming near to stepping on one another’s toes. After a brief flourish from the keyboard the intensity rises to a smoldering crescendo before the fade out.

Sam Jones teamed up with Julius’ brother Nat to write “One for Daddy-O” and its bluesy, late night groove makes you feel like you’re in a primo seat at a smoky bar’s front row table. This song gives you a chance to hear two of the best horn virtuosos that ever lived vamping freely over a simple 12-bar progression and, in the process, transporting you into a realm of jazz that is untainted and sacred. Amidst their version of Arthur Schwartz’ “Dancing in the Dark” a sultry mood descends on them like a bank of soft blue floodlights and envelopes the band in a profound glow. Adderley’s impressionistic saxophone lines paint like Monet, holding you in a spell and his final flurry of notes will give you goose bumps on top of your goose bumps. Miles doesn’t play a note but he didn’t need to. It’s likely he knew better than to try to improve on perfection. The last cut is a bonus track, Hank’s “Alison’s Uncle” (or alternately-titled “Bangoon,” depending on what edition of the album you acquire). It wasn’t on the original vinyl because its hard bop slant was slightly out of step with the rest of the material but, trust me, you’ll be glad it’s included. These guys could do no wrong that evening. A bouncy number that’s as warm as a summer afternoon, it’s one of those numbers that musicians like Cannonball and Davis make sound like there’s nothing to playing this kind of stuff even though it’s deceivingly complex. It’s worth your while to pay special attention to Blakey’s inventive drum breaks that rival those of one of his peers, Joe Morello.

Many publications and critics consider this to be a masterpiece in the blending of the hard bop and cool trends of that day and, while I’m far from being an expert on either style, I’ll agree to a degree by saying that it’s an exquisite example of what can make jazz such a sublime joy to listen to. No special effects, no tricks, no fancy pyrotechnics are involved. Just inspired music that carries you away to a better place. And what more, for heaven’s sake, could you possibly ask these talented men to do for you?

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