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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Somethin' Else

Poll Winners Records PWR 27212



1. Autumn Leaves
2. Love for Sale
3. Somethin' Else
4. One for Daddy-O
5. Dancing in the Dark
6. Allison's Uncle
7. Spectacular
8. Miss Jackie's Delight
9. Tribute to Brownie
10. Cobbweb
11. Jeannie
12. Another Kind of Soul
13. Spring is Here
14. Eddie McLin

Julian "Cannonball" Adderley - Alto sax
Miles Davis - Trumpet (tracks 1-6)
Hank Jones - Piano (tracks 1-6)
Sam Jones - Bass
Art Blakey - Drums (tracks 1-6)
Nat Adderley - Cornet (tracks 7-14)
Junior Mance - Piano (tracks 7-14)
Jimmy Cobb - Drums (tracks 7-14)


It baffles me why so many people regard trumpeter Miles Davis as some kind of god, while they tend to ignore (or at least, underrate) altoist Cannonball Adderley. The comparison between the two players on this reissued album throws up the deficiencies in Miles's playing while demonstrating the huge talent of Cannonball. The original LP was recorded in 1958, when Adderley was a member of the Miles Davis group which was to make the renowned Kind of Blue album the following year. Miles Davis possibly appeared on the session to help the young altoist, who was only just beginning to make his name (Miles says he did the session "as a favour").

Of course, it may be inequitable to compare the two musicians, since they were such different players. Cannonball was confidently extrovert while Miles could seem tentative and even uncomfortable. Perhaps the difference between the two might be summed up by saying that Adderley was hot where Davis was cool - or, at least, that Cannonball was usually warm where Miles could be chilly. But the main difference for me could be described as one of confidence. When Cannonball plays, I feel secure in the knowledge that he will never falter whereas, when listening to Miles, I worry that he may split a note or even play the wrong notes. Certainly he has many fine moments on this album, but often resorts to repeating the same note or flying theatrically up into the stratosphere when one senses that inspiration has deserted him.

Nonetheless, there is plenty of fine music on the first six tracks, which comprise the original recording session with Miles, although he is absent from Dancing in the Dark, which features Cannonball in rhapsodic mood at ballad tempo. Autumn Leaves becomes a masterpiece, with a mystic opening riff from the piano and long-held notes by Adderley and Davis. Miles's solo is poignant, although slightly marred by his habit of moving down a tone at the end of a sequence. Cannonball's solo is radiant, leaping about joyfully, and Hank Jones solos with his customary aplomb. Love for Sale is taken at an easy bounce, with occasional hints of Latin-American rhythm.

Somethin' Else, the title-track, was composed by Miles Davis and is a simple riff tune, although with a complex harmonic structure. Hank Jones's piano solo uses block chords reminiscent of George Shearing. Nat Adderley wrote One for Daddy-O in tribute to disc jockey Daddy-O Daylie. It is an attractive loping blues which allows Cannonball to wail soulfully. Davis's solo is in the minimal style he developed with Gil Evans.

The sixth track - which is also entitled Bangoon - was not on the original LP but was added to CD reissues. Art Blakey gets a short drum solo on this one. On this new CD, the last eight tracks are a generous bonus, taken from the 1957 album Sophisticated Swing (omitting only a short track by the rhythm section). This keeps the same bassist (Sam Jones) but changes the rest of the personnel, bringing in Cannonball's brother, cornettist Nat Adderley, who generally sounds more sure-footed than Miles did. However, Nat hasn't got the unique tone which made Miles so distinctive.

The Adderley brothers played together for many years and developed the sort of synergy which is invaluable in jazz. Their session starts with a tearaway tune called Spectacular, which is just what it says on the tin. Cannonball really lets rip on this track, although the speed feels a bit excessive for Junior Mance. Miss Jackie's Delight is one of three numbers written by bassist Gene Wright, who also composed Cobbweb and Eddie McLin. Sam Jones's double bass is rightly prominent on this track.

Nat Adderley's statement of the theme to Duke Pearson's Tribute to Brownie pays justified homage to trumpeter Clifford Brown, which is underlined by Cannonball's heartfelt solo. Cobbweb features drummer Jimmy Cobb's faultless technique. Jeannie is the sort of funky outing for which the Adderleys later became famous. Nat Adderley proves he can play high notes without strain.

Nat's composition Another Kind of Soul is also funky, with an easygoing solo from Cannonball. Spring is Here is freshened with some unusual harmonies and soulful alto from Cannonball. Eddie McLin closes the album with a walk along mean but blues-soaked streets. Junior Mance is very much at home in these surroundings.

So this CD is a game of two halves. Miles Davis-worshippers will love the first six tracks but personally I like them all but slightly prefer the last eight, which use a more relaxed and integrated quintet. Take your pick.

Tony Augarde

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