Jazz & Blues Edge: Somethin’ Else (Cannonball Adderley), by Ms. Ann

Credit: www.bootlovers.com

March 9, 1958 Blue Note Label

Track listing

Side one

No.       Title     Writer(s)           Length

1.         “Autumn Leaves”          Joseph Kosma, Johnny Mercer, Jacques Prévert  10:55

2.         “Love for Sale”  Cole Porter       7:01

Side two

No.       Title     Writer(s)           Length

1.         “Somethin’ Else”           Miles Davis       8:15

2.         “One for Daddy-O”        Nat Adderley    8:26

3.         “Dancing in the Dark”    Arthur Schwartz, Howard Dietz  4:07

Musicians

Cannonball Adderley – alto saxophone

Miles Davis – trumpet

Hank Jones – piano

Sam Jones – bass

Art Blakey – drums

Production

Alfred Lion – Producer

Rudy Van Gelder – recording engineer

Recorded at Rudy Van Gelder’s Hackensack, New Jersey studio on March 9, 1958.

The album that was gifted to me is a Blue Note Classic Vinyl Series Audiophile Reissue Mastered from the Original Analog Tapes.

From the moment the turntable stylus hit the record I was in love.  It took all of about 20 seconds to fall deeply in love as I was in auditory rapture from the first note to the last.  I am wondering if I can write enough superlatives of praise regarding my experience so that you might grasp the perfection I just experienced.

“Autumn Leaves” was originally a French popular song. Titled “Les feuilles mortes”.  It is a standard 32-bar tune, but its form isn’t the “usual” AABA. After the bridge, the tune goes to a coda-like concluding section instead of repeating the initial A Section like most popular songs of the time did.

In this version of Autumn Leaves, just shy of 11 minutes, the piano opening statement (a G-minor vamp) sets up the minimal foundation and tempo; add in cool laidback horns, and Art Blakely on swishing, swinging brushes on the drums.  It all sets the tone, so seductive, alluring and romantic.  The melody is played by Davis.  Davis and Adderley take two choruses of adlib followed by one chorus on piano by Hank Jones. Renaissance music had independent melodic lines set against each other.  That is the best comparison I can give you of Adderley’s turn at improvising followed by Davis’s turn at creative invention. Different, yet complementary jazz styles weaving auditory magic.  A bebop driving, phrasal thoughtful lines is Adderley’s contribution answered by sultry-smoky muted trumpet in minimalistic perfection (the absolutely most perfect notes in the best order) by Davis.  Hank Jones on piano is a lovely contrast, beautiful light piano, betraying to us his Benny Goodman “King of Swing” days.  I love the coda of Davis taking us back to the melody and the dissolve to completeness on piano.

“Love for Sale” is another classic cover tune.  There is nothing like being banned to make a tune more popular.  One of the aspects of this album is that the tune is clearly laid out before variations on the theme are played for each song.  It is a grand set up on piano by Hank followed by Davis on muted trumpet presenting the tune.  Adderley is featured in an extended solo, smooth like silk and rich like cream.  I geeked out photos and the internet to find out how Adderley got this sound.  Cannonball played a N.Y. MEYER Brand Mouthpiece (#5 Medium Chamber) with a Ring on it, using La Voz medium or Rico #2 Reeds on his KING Super 20.  He did not switch over to a Selmer Mark VI until the 70’s.  

Side Two begins with “Somethin’ Else”, a Miles Davis tune.  This is an upbeat tune, as the title says, “Something Else” being a phrase for something wonderful and beyond awesome amazing.  Listening, I have the experience of sitting alongside Adderley and Davis while they are having this very involved conversation.  It’s very fresh with gorgeous flowing blues lines.  The tune is in the traditional 12 bar blues form with more harmonically complex chords than traditional blues chords.  The soloists expand on that joyful feeling the tune is presented in (call and response) developing a more multiplex harmonic environment (listen to those piano chords underneath the solos and the driving string bass) while keeping it tight, with Hank Jones following in a swinging block chord style solo.  Recap the call response intro by Davis and Adderley and fade.  Sweet.

The twelve-bar blues “One for Daddy-O” was written by Adderley’s brother Nat for Chicago radio DJ Holmes “Daddy-O” Daylie. At the end of that track, Davis can be heard addressing producer Alfred Lion, saying “is that what you wanted, Alfred?”  The feel is a cool, casual shuffle.  Daddy-0 is a B flat minor blues, presented with a call-and-response between piano and horns in the tune.  Fabulous solo by Adderley.  I love the way he always keeps the beat, yet, stretches time longer and contracting shorter, returning to slowing and stretching time out, and yet I always feel the beat.  That is an amazing skill.  I find it interesting how he uses the G and D Phrygian dominant scales and circles back to ideas/motifs to unify his solo.  The piano solo cooks.  High five, Hank.  Again, the contrast of so many notes used by Adderley and only the most perfect with bends and all by Davis.  This play off of the different styles of Adderley and Davis works so well.  The tune is recapped before the end, putting a bow on perfection.

Our last treat is “Dancing in the Dark,” by composer Arthur Schwartz and lyricist Howard Dietz, a short number after all the others, and it is a hot ballad saxophone showcase for Adderley.  Fluid, sensuous and on fire, I love his sound, singing through his horn, this is many perfectly gorgeous moments jammed next to each other in sweet loving glee, a wonderful finale for the album.

In Conclusion, this album is perfection with a cherry on top, a great gift.  Listen and the pleasure will be all yours.