Somethin’ Else

Somethin' Else

Artist: Cannonball Adderley

Year: 1958

Genre: Hard Bop

Grade: A

Legendary jazz trumpeter Miles Davis composed the title track, chose the material and was the featured soloist on Cannonball Adderley’s Somethin’ Else LP. Some jazz fans listen to this album as Davis’ warm-up for Kind of Blue, but to overlook Adderley’s stellar contributions as alto saxophonist and bandleader would be downright dumb.

Adderley does a great job maintaining the distinct atmosphere of Davis’ modal recordings without losing sight of his own hard bop roots. Together, he and Miles craft an understated masterpiece that bristles with impeccable chemistry. And even though the two horn players are mighty impressive, the interlocking groove of the rhythm section (Art Blakey on drums, Sam Jones on bass and Hank Jones on piano) is the engine that really drives the record.

Two earworms that I can’t shake: the elegant piano introduction to “Love for Sale,” which could be played 20 times in a row and still not lose its power, and the entirety of “Dancing in the Dark,” which closes the record in hauntingly beautiful fashion and, believe it or not, is even better than the Bruce Springsteen song of the same name.

Somethin’ Else

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