Album Review: Somethin’ Else

Somethin_Else

Hipness is not a state of mind, it’s a fact of life. ~ Cannonball Adderley

A young tenor player was complaining to me that Coleman Hawkins made him nervous. Man, I told him Hawkins was supposed to make him nervous! Hawkins has been making other sax players nervous for forty years!
~ Cannonball Adderley

This week’s album review is Somethin’ Else, easily one of my favorite albums. I first picked up a CD version 10 years ago or so, and more recently purchased a vinyl reissue.

The recording session for this album (March 9, 1958) was one month and a day after the recording session for Lester Young’s Laughin’ to Keep from Cryin’, reviewed here last week. The two albums could not be any different. They literally represent two generations of jazz.

What they have in common are: titles that drop the “g” ending, Hank Jones’ excellent piano work, and a core underpinning of the “cool” For there are no cooler musicians than Lester Young and Miles Davis.

Officially Somethin’ Else is a “Cannonball Adderley Quintet” album. And even though Adderley is, of course, a great alto sax player, when Miles records it becomes by definition a Davis album. And so it is in sound, conception, and even in how it is arranged.

Davis did not record a lot for Blue Note and did not appear as a sideman much after 1955. But it is interesting to note that Davis seems to play the first solo on most of the tracks on the album including the very first one, “Autumn Leaves.”

On the excellent title track “Somethin’ Else,” Davis even begins the track by initiating and leading a call and response that Adderley merely follows. The song ends with that same call and response order. It is a Miles Davis number and album in everything but name.

I enjoy the sound of Adderley’s alto as much as I enjoy anyone I have ever heard play it. On the track “Dancing in the Dark” Adderly solos alone. He is bluesy and soulful and unforgettable. It a great performance by a great artist.

A final word about Hank Jones. As on the album Laughin’ to Keep from Cryin’, Jones shines in his support role. His excellent opening solo on “Love for Sale,” and the sophisticated blues sound he brings to the album, lifts the work of Davis and Adderley… giving them a firm and bluesy place to stand. He is a great jazz pianist.

Tracklist

A1 Autumn Leaves 10:58
A2 Love For Sale 7:03
B1 Somethin’ Else 8:12
B2 One For The Daddy-O 8:21
B3 Dancing In The Dark 4:04

Credits

  • Alto Saxophone – Cannonball Adderley
  • Trumpet – Miles Davis
  • Piano – Hank Jones
  • Bass – Sam Jones
  • Drums – Art Blakey
  • Liner Notes – Leonard Feather
  • Photography By – Francis Wolff
  • Cover [Design] – Reid Miles
  • Producer – Alfred Lion
  • Recorded By – Rudy Van Gelder

Notes

Miles Davis performs by courtesy of Columbia Records.
Hank Jones performs by courtesy of Capital Records.
Recorded on March 9, 1958, Hackensack, New Jersey

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