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JAZZ CORNER Presents: Cannonball Adderley - Somethin' Else (1958)


Perhaps I’ve watched too many movies, because I pictured my adventure into the world of Jazz as being more cerebral, more intellectual and more scholarly ... but, to my delight, what I found as I walked through the differing syncopations, is that my taste in Jazz runs along the same lines as my taste in rock.  As with rock, I like it “Stoner,” and laid back, with just enough edges to hold my attention, designed around a core that develops and moves me deeper within myself ... and while Jazz at first seems to control the environment, it didn’t take me long to adjust my seating, find my footing and slip into the groove, totally engulfed ... and here on Cannonball Adderley’s release “Somethin’ Else,” I’ve found a kindred spirit.

Julian’s forty seven year saxophone career was far to short, by the time he should have been hitting his stride, and shifting into high gear he was gone.  Cannonball came from a very technical musical background, not only playing but teaching music, which is no doubt one of the reasons his particular form of Jazz both connects and resonates so well.  Those who exist within their own sphere of art tend to produce works that express an inward journey, while Julian was so acutely in touch with his surroundings that he was able to include the listener ... understanding how spacing, bars, and chords worked their magic.  While he rolls along on his sax, one can easily hear the biting clarity of Charlie Parker.  Yet he wasn’t about to have his music sound cold, he went about developing warm round tones reminiscent of Benny Carter ... but don’t go thinking all of his music is as soulful as that found here, Adderley was a seminal influence on the driving style of Hard Bop, and there was no holding him back if he decided to rip loose and swing with faster tempos ... yet, even in the face of poly rhythms and poly tonalities, which appeal to a certain elite, Cannonball would not forsake, or forget his roots, raising the bar, yet preserving the music, keeping it understandable by using the vocabulary of Blues and Gospel.

Adderley’s band was as tight and compact as he was in stature, and it’s brilliant to hear on this record, the songs on which Miles Davis steps in, participating in like style and fashion, yet letting those signature Miles Davis elements shine through ... he was truly a generous man.  Art Blakey will attest to that, so will Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson, Sara Vaughan, Dianh Washington, John Coltrane, Sergio Mendes, Wes Montgomery and Nancy Wilson ... Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones is said to have named both of his children Julian, in honor of Mr. Adderley ... and I’m sure I’ve left out a dozen more.

This is the Jazz I love.  “Alison’s Uncle” is the only song on this release that did not strike a chord with me [and that was because of the brassy drumming], but that’s just my taste ... this music is so cool, and so smooth that it is infectious ... working it’s way into the mind, body and soul.  As brilliant as each note is, those same notes seem understated, floating like smoke, sustained just long enough for rhythmic perfection.  Trying to find something you don’t dig on this album is just what you are going to have to do ... but I don’t believe that you’ll have much success.

Review made by Jenell Kesler/2015
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