Bar code: 8436019589472
This CD has been replaced by its recent reissue as part of the Phoenix label. Reference #131517
This release contains the complete classic Blue Note album "Somethin' Else" in which Cannonball - by then a member of the Miles Davis Sextet - was joined by his boss, Hank Jones, Sam Jones and the great Art Blakey. All five musicians shine on this album, which is one of the most celebrated in the history of jazz.
As a bonus it's added Adderley's 1957 Mercury classic album "Sophisticated Swing" which appears here complete with the sole exception of a short trio version of 'Stella by Starlight' (played only by the rhythm section, without Cannonball or Nat), which could not be included due to time limitations. Our booklet includes the original liner notes for both albums, plus the 1958 Down Beat review for Somethin' Else by Dom Cerulli and the complete 1959 Cannonball Adderley blindfold test by Leonard Feather, which also appeared on Down Beat magazine.
Julian "Cannonball" Adderley burst upon the jazz scene in 1955, sitting in with Oscar Pettiford's group at the Bohemia in New York and almost instantly being hailed as the "new Bird". While Adderley had certainly listened to and incorporated Charlie Parker's work into his playing by this time, the foundation for his funky, graceful alto style came from careful listening to the work of Johnny Hodges and Benny Carter, as well as tenor players like Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, and, of course, Lester Young.
Adderly worked as a band director at Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida from 1948 until shortly after his appearance at the Bohemia, when he and brother Nat formed a quintet and began to tour. Julian broke that group up in '57 to join Miles Davis' group, and in March of 1958 recorded the album Somethin' Else as leader with Davis, pianist Hank Jones, bassist Sam Jones, and drummer Art Blakey. Adderley learned much from his involvement with Miles, not only from Davis himself, but from saxophonist John Coltrane, who was also a member of the sextet. Cannonball's playing on classic Davis sessions like Milestones reveal a new discipline in the use of space and silence as well as a more adventurous harmonic ear. By the time of the Somethin' Else session, Cannonball's sound had considerably more nuance, with darker tones and more brooding solos. Nonetheless, the Parker influence continued to shine, and the whole session has a sense of relaxation that results in music that is truly joyous.
The album begins with an incredible reading of the standard Autumn Leaves, which kicks off with a fairly long introduction in a minor key that is a precursor of the sounds that would eminate from Miles' upcoming 1959 Kind of Blue album, which also featured Adderley. The piece sets the tone for the album, with nice solo work from Cannonball, Davis, and pianist Hank Jones, ending on another minor key theme that sets this arrangement off from the many on this tune that have been recorded.
After an adlib piano intro from Jones, Miles states the theme in Love For Sale, using a muted and stark tone. Adderley wears his Bird influence on his sleeve on this track, playing a solo that is very evocative of Parker and could even be mistaken for him by some listeners. However, Cannonball's distinctive tone and strong sense of thematic development are in evidence and help to distinguish the solo as his. Davis' Somethin' Else is a 12-bar form, but it is far from traditional blues in its harmonic structure. It creates a joyful feeling from the beginning, then allows the soloists to expand on that feeling in a complex harmonic environment. Hank Jones plays a great solo utilizing the block-chord style that is both subtle and completely swinging. One for Daddy-o is vintage Cannonball, utilizing the straightforward funky blues that he could so effectively use to capture and audience and take it to many places it would normally have been unwilling to go. Adderley demonstrates the same inventiveness with the blues format as Charlie Parker. Davis' solo is a wonderfully heartfelt yet sophisticated take on the blues changes, demonstrating everything there is to love about this masterful improviser. Jones also turns in a nice, though brief, bop-blues piano solo that is just right for the tune.
Dancing In the Dark is sheer beauty, and demonstrates Adderley's very adept approach to the ballad, another hallmark of his playing. Here some of the tenor influences, particularly Hawkins and Webster, come through, not to mention the ghost of Johnny Hodges.
- Notes to 'Somethin' Else':
"There's really not too much to say about this set. It's the result of five thoroughly professional jazzmen playing together and making it. The outstanding side to me is "Autumn Leaves," on which Davis displays his moving lyricism."
Dom Cerulli -Down Beat, 1958
"It isn't too difficult to understand why this album is considered to be a worthy candidate for an Ultradisc reissue - aside from Cannonball Adderley, you have a lineup that includes Miles Davis, Hank Jones, Sam Jones, and Art Blakey. This is a group that could take on a Barry Manilow number and turn it into a jazz masterpiece. It's a good favor to the purchaser, by including an additional track that was left off the original album. This sixth track, "Alison's Uncle," closes out Somethin' Else on a high note, changing the flow of energy in an interesting way (purists can still finish up on a quieter note, as with the original, by programming "Dancing in the Dark" as the final track). In many ways it's a surprise that this track was left off originally - it's an excellent piece, with Adderley and Davis trading licks and solos while Jones and Blakey keep pace. Blakey also takes some terrific solos. The remastering job is also a superb effort, producing clear sound with almost no background noise. Due to the original recording (made in 1958), Davis' trumpet sometimes seems a little shrill and metallic, but it's not an overwhelming problem - certainly not when you consider Davis' style. Altogether, an excellent addition to any jazz collection."
Steven McDonald -All Music Guide
- Notes to 'Sophisticated Swing':
"The Cannonball Adderley Quintet, a group that despite its talents failed commercially. With Cannonball on alto, cornetist Nat Adderley, pianist Junior Mance, bassist Sam Jones, and drummer Jimmy Cobb, it is surprising that the group did not make it, but the Adderleys were fairly unknown at the time. The music is quite bop-oriented, bluesy but not as soulful as it would be when Cannonball put together a new group in 1959."
Scott Yanow -All Music Guide