Sound — 9
Somethin' Else is a studio album by famous alto sax player Julian "Cannonball" Adderley released in 1958, and is widely considered one of the greatest albums in jazz history. This album pushes and further develops the hard bop and cool jazz styles, becoming what many consider to be the pinnacle of both of those sub-genres. The album features a great array of magnificent musicians (with Miles Davis himself playing a prominent role in both the leadership and the songs on the album) and turned out to be one of the most influential albums in the jazz world then and still today. The album is easily accessible to both jazz fans and the casual listener, and the sound is similar to some of the music that Miles Davis would come out with the year after on his album "Kind of Blue". While this album has the "typical" jazz feel (you know what I mean: walking bass, brushes..etc), it's something that doesn't get old fast and will be great music for gentle listening in the background or for intense concentration (you know who you are, jazz fanatics!). The original album was approximately 40 minutes long and consisted of 5 tracks, and in my opinion not a single one of them was a let down. All of the songs remain consistent in both their style and presentation, but are different enough in the solos, the tempos, and the general structures and melodies that each of the songs are easily distinguishable and interesting. The improvisation and soloing on this album (primarily done by Cannonball Adderley on alto sax, Miles Davis on trumpet, and Hank Jones of the piano) are all exceptional. They build on the structure set by the rhythm section and take advantage of all the opportunities they have without sounding forced at all. Cannonball Adderley's playing (unlike a lot of the bop players from the time) was not reliant only on speed and the ability to keep up with chord changes. Adderley's saxophone playing is phenomenal as he makes great use of space and shows off his ability not only to play quickly, but to play slowly with more emotion too. His amazing tone and both his subtle and obvious techniques when playing make it obvious that he is a master of his instrument. Miles Davis is fantastic too, also making great use of space as well as taking his playing to a level very few people (if any) are capable of reaching. In terms of the rhythm section, the combination of Hank Jones on piano, Sam Jones on bass, and Art Blakey on drums is one of the greatest rhythm sections I've heard. They play not as individuals, but as a group. They keep perfect time and play off what each other are doing to make a great, tight backbone for the songs. While it's mostly Adderley and Davis in the spotlight here, it becomes clear to the avid listener that without this rhythm section the album wouldn't be nearly as good. This album is fantastic. From the improvisation, composition, and simply down to just the tone and quality of the musicianship this album will not let you down if you are a jazz fan of any caliber. I did feel however that the bass and drums could have been altered slightly more on the different tracks, as it began to feel slightly repetitive towards the end of the album. It would also be even better if more styles were covered, but given the nature of this album that is a lot to ask for. In general, his album is nearly perfect, with very little room for improvement.
Lyrics — 9
There are no vocals or lyrics on this album, it is strictly composed of Alto Saxophone (Cannonball Adderley), Trumpet (Miles Davis), Piano (Hank Jones), Bass (Sam Jones) and Drums (Art Blakey). If you couldn't tell, I was just filling up space so that I could submit this review.
Overall Impression — 10
One listen to this album and you're impressed. One hundred listens to this album and you're still impressed. It contains five tracks, and each one of them is worthy of your time as a listener and will have you wanting to listen to it again. The track "Autumn Leaves" has been done in many styles, many times, but this is my personal favourite rendition of the piece, and one of my favourites off the album and in jazz in general. "Love for Sale" and "One for Daddy-O" are another two that rank right up there with the best. In conclusion, if you are a fan of other classic albums like "Kind of Blue", this album is perfect for you. It is one of those quintessential jazz albums that will be just as good in a thousand years as it was the day it was released.