Cannonball Adderley – Somethin’ Else (1958)

Artist Cannonball Adderley
Type Album
Released August 1958
Recorded 9 March 1958
Genres Hard Bop, Cool Jazz, Cool Jazz
Descriptors instrumental, autumn, mellow, melodic, improvisation, soothing, nocturnal, acoustic

« Somethin’ Else » is the perfect example that only jazz could do while the other musical genres don’t allow cross-overs. Especially in the 50s, musicians are still keen on respecting a more strict behaviour in the pure tradition of their main genre by not exploring beyond without fearing losing their audience.
So, Cannonball Adderley saxophonist formed in the Be-Bop Charlie Parker’s mould met Miles Davis, the creator of the « Cool Jazz »; Art Blakey, one of the fathers of hard-bop while Hank Jones, the third part of this strange association just passed 2 years as a sideman with the big band of the « King of Swing »…
Only Jazz, music of freedom, whose essence is the beat of the swing, of any melody recycled whatever its source, could break the barriers between its inner trends same as it did between the races and all beliefs across the world.
« Autumn Leaves », the first track, with its strange scary introduction, is one of the most popular French melody composed by Joseph Kosma who’s got an Hungarian origin. This tune has been sung by various artists and Yves Montand is one of its most brilliant interpreters.
Miles exposes the main theme then the sax improvises followed by the trumpet and the piano before Miles concludes with the recall of the theme; but he’s Hank Jones who improvises the long coda with Miles in a cool way, very different than the swinging body of the track. So surprising and really refined.
In « Love for Sale » Hank Jones improvises less but introduces this swinging latino flavoured track in which Miles plays again the main theme. A tune composed by the fancy Cole Porter a white American man known for his homosexuality.
In « Somethin’ Else », Miles and Cannonball shares mostly the forefront in the theme and improvisations. Jones only plays a short solo in the end. Miles Davis composed this track which is a bit surprising for the one who is the King of Cool Jazz…
« One for Daddy-O », dedicated to the popular Chicago disc-jockey « Daddy-O » is introduced by the piano, Cannonball plays the main theme and improvises first followed by the Davis’ trumpet. Normal! This track has been composed by Nat Adderley, Cannonball’s brother. They are not brothers for nothing… After a piano improvisation, the 3 leaders share the replay of the theme but Cannonball has got the last note.
At last, « Dancing in the Dark » is a popular American white song composed by Arthur Schwartz. Cannonball plays alone the theme and the improvisations only backed by the piano, the drums and double-bass. Miles made him play this tune because he remembered Sarah Vaughan do it like this. In this ballad, Miles Davis does not play. Is this a true example of modesty and dedication to the Music only? Probably yes.

As a conclusion I will say that this album implicitly carries more emotion and freedom blood than any political speech because of its concept and its various sources. Unfortunately it takes years to understand the alchemy of Jazz and how many people can understand it beyong its technical skill and swing outward?

Simply one of the most important milestones of the 50s and Music simply.

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