All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Serving jazz worldwide since 1995
All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Reassessing

Cannonball Adderley & Milt Jackson: Things Are Getting Better

By Published: August 23, 2013
Cannonball Adderley & Milt Jackson

Things Are Getting Better

OJC

1959/2013

Alto saxophonist Julian "Cannonball" Adderley
Julian
Julian "Cannonball" Adderley
1928 - 1975
saxophone
's 1959 Things Are Getting Better joins guitarist Wes Montgomery
Wes Montgomery
Wes Montgomery
1925 - 1968
guitar
's So Much Guitar!, trumpeter Chet Baker
Chet Baker
Chet Baker
1929 - 1988
trumpet
's Chet Baker Plays The Best Of Lerner & Loewe (OJC/Riverside, 1959/2013) and Gerry Mulligan
Gerry Mulligan
Gerry Mulligan
1927 - 1996
sax, baritone
's Mulligan Meets Monk (OJC/Riverside, 1957/2013) in re-issue celebrating the 60th anniversary of Riverside Records.

Adderley was in much demand in the late 1950s, being part of Miles Davis
Miles Davis
Miles Davis
1926 - 1991
trumpet
' great sextet that would record Milestones (Columbia, 1958), 1958 Miles (Columbia, 1958) and Kind of Blue (Columbia, 1959). In this same period, Adderley also recorded several times as a leader, including the desert-island Somethin' Else (Blue Note, 1958) with Davis making a rare sideman appearance and the present Things Are Getting Better, recorded with vibraphonist Milt Jackson
Milt Jackson
Milt Jackson
1923 - 1999
vibraphone
. These recordings are similar in that while Adderley gets leadership billing, side personnel take on a near equal role in the recordings.

It is a natural attraction that brought Adderley and Jackson together. Both men were accomplished ballads and blues players who could tear up a bebop tune if necessary. Like Somethin' Else, Things Are Getting Better lacks weak material. The disc includes alternate takes of Buddy Johnson's "Serves Me Right" and the Lawlor/Blake romp "The Sidewalks of New York," both songs worthy of reprise. The disc highlights are the original title track where Adderley and Jackson flex their respective blues chops. "Groovin' High" is executed with such precision (and at a slower tempo than the 1945 original) that it could exist as a study of bebop. Jackson is steeped in this music and Adderley demonstrates the dual influences of Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
1920 - 1955
sax, alto
and John Coltrane
John Coltrane
John Coltrane
1926 - 1967
saxophone
on this playing at the time.

Pianist Wynton Kelly
Wynton Kelly
Wynton Kelly
1931 - 1971
piano
is superb throughout, reminding us of his often overlooked contributions to jazz, largely as a sideman. The rhythm section was rounded out by bassist Percy Heath
Percy Heath
Percy Heath
1923 - 2005
bass, acoustic
and drummer Art Blakey
Art Blakey
Art Blakey
1919 - 1990
drums
. Line-ups like this are the giants upon whose shoulders all after stand on.


Tracks: Blues Oriental; Things Are Getting Better; Serves Me Right (take 5); Groovin' High; The Sidewalks of New York (take 5); Sounds for Sid; Just One of Those Things; Serves Me Right (take 4); The Sidewalks of New York (take 4).

Personnel: Cannonball Adderley: alto sax; Milt Jackson: vibes; Wynton Kelly: piano; Percy Heath: bass; Art Blakey; drums.


comments powered by Disqus