Cannonball Adderley with Milt Jackson: Things Are Getting Better

CannonballAdderley_ThingsAreGettingBetterTwo jazz masters meet with a dynamite rhythm section

This 1958 session finds alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley in session with Modern Jazz Quartet vibraphonist Milt Jackson, and a three-piece rhythm section of Wynton Kelly (piano), Percy Heath (bass) and Jazz Messengers leader, Art Blakey (drums). Jackson’s playing makes both a brilliantly smooth tonal partner for Adderley’s sax, and a rhythmic complement to Heath and Blakey’s beats. The opening “Blues Oriental” provides a blue mix of piano, vibes and sax, backed by Blakey’s moody tom-toms and Heath’s superb bass line. Kelly and Jackson tip off a lighter, more optimistic mood for Adderley’s title cut, with the saxophonist swinging happily as he trades solos with Jackson and Kelly. The quintet simmers on “Serves Me Right,” with the rhythm section providing drowsy, late-night backing to Adderley and Jackson. And so the set runs, moving between Dizzy Gillespie’s mid-tempo “Groovin’ High” and Eubie Blake’s “The Sidewalks of New York,” Adderley’s relaxed “Sounds for Sid” and an upbeat reading of Cole Porter’s “Just One Those Things.” The rhythm section proves both solid and flexible, adding a kick to the mid-tempo numbers and providing laid back atmosphere for the ballads. The 2013 reissue of this title was remastered in 24-bits by Joe Tarantino, and includes three bonus tracks. The first of the three is a little less than a minute of studio chatter, while the latter two provide alternate takes of “Serves Me Right” and “The Sidewalks of New York.” This is a terrific showcase for Adderley and Jackson, and a good example of how alto and vibraphone play together. [©2013 Hyperbolium]

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