Cannonball Adderley - Somethin' Else
Aug 3, 2022
85
"Hipness is not a state of mind, it's a fact of life!"
-Cannonball Adderley

Adderley sure was hip - hip as can be. Recorded not long after meeting Miles Davis, Somethin' Else was a big deal for both musicians. This album is almost as much of a Miles Davis record as it is Cannonball Adderley's, as he selected most of the material for the album and takes a massive presence. Though his playing is very infectious and beautiful, Adderley still takes center stage, which isn't exactly easy to do when you are working with someone as legendary as Davis. You see, Davis was one of the coolest names in jazz at the time. In fact, maybe the coolest name. After 1955 he seldom played as a sideman, making this record even more special, as if the lineup wasn't already incredible!

Who do we have on drums? It's Art Blakey! Seeing that name in a lineup always brings a smile to my face, because you know at least one piece of the record (the drumming of course) is bound to be great. I only wish his drumming was a bit louder in the mix, I mean, it's Blakey for Christ's sake! Hank Jones, brother of Elvin Jones and Thad Jones, is on piano. If you are unaware, Elvin Jones is one of the most important drummers in jazz history and was John Coltrane's choice for many years. Finally, we have Sam Jones on bass (how many Jones are there in jazz!?). All of the musicians in this lineup are renowned, and had been or were going to be major components of multiple classics and standards in jazz. When such talented jazz musicians come together in the prime of their lives you can always guarantee a stunning outcome.

Somethin' Else is exceptionally laid back, relaxing, chill, and smooth as silk. The playing feels effortless yet so precise, complex, and intricate. If you can't tell based on my jazz reviews thus far, this is typically my most favored style of jazz, though more intense jazz still has a great place in my heart.
As much as I love listening to mind-blowing avant and free jazz-related work, nothing makes me feel better and more at ease than grabbing one of these comforting records, setting it down gently on my record player, sitting back, and listening to these musicians put their all into this gorgeous playing. I adore how subtle this type of jazz is about its technicalities, never forcing its impressiveness in your face. Instead, it lets you understand for yourself and immerses you in the cool atmosphere.

The album cover is one of my favorites of all time. So simplistic and bold, making an immediate statement at first glance. The color choices are perfect and help make it more memorable and recognizable. Love the positioning and font as well. It is obviously a very well-thought-out and appealing cover matching the atmosphere and tone of the record.

This record does deserve to be so acclaimed, as I believe it to be one of the greatest jazz albums ever, but I do wish it didn't overshine Adderley's discography so much. If you enjoy this, I highly suggest that you check out Adderley's other work. Mercy, Mercy, Mercy! Live at 'The Club' is absolutely unbelievable, Cannonball Adderley Quintet in Chicago and San Francisco are fantastic, and Know What I Mean? is lovely. Adderley was a very talented musician and composer, and his other work deserves much more recognition. Especially the live stuff - it showcases immense talent. And while you are at it, check out some work from his brother (Nat Adderley) too.

I feel this record is a bit harder to talk about than the others I have done so far, and I've always felt this way. To conclude, though, it's a damn beautiful album, lovely to the core, with a brilliant lineup, and fantastic performances from everyone. The compositions help highlight the playing in a great way, hinting towards a successful future for these musicians.
You know, you can read reviews all day, but the best understanding you can get from an album is from listening to it. So go ahead, give this a listen. I'm nearly certain you will be pleased.

This record sure is somethin' else.
Why's it so easy to make puns with jazz album titles?
Anyhow, thank you all for the support on these daily reviews. So far, I've only done jazz records from 1958 and 1959. Two of the greatest years for jazz. I might continue this streak and do "The Shape of Jazz To Come" next.
See you tomorrow!

4 Comments
4d
Tristan dominated the popular review board :0
4d
@yea
Hell yeah! :)
2d
nice review ;)
2d
@nine99
Thank you very much!
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