This excellent album by the alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley was recorded in New York on October 28, 1958 with Milt Jackson(vibes) and a superb rhythm section of Wynton Kelly(piano); Percy Heath(bass) & Art Blakey(drums). Adderley is in exuberant form on nine memorable tracks(including two mono alternative takes) with the highlights including Dizzy Gillespie's 'Groovin' High', 'The Sidewalks of New York', 'Sounds For Sid' and the soulful title track. This bluesy blowing session contains over 50 minutes of swinging and exhilarating modern jazz which deserves to be more widely known.
This was an all star meeting of Cannonball and Milt, both superb musicians and fine players of the blues. Cannonball was an exuberant player (sometimes too much so, although not here), Bags less so, but both were among the very best on their instruments and on top form here. Cannonball was, of course, one of the very best of the modern altos of the fifties and sixties and Bags quite simply the best modern vibes player ever. The rhythm section lives up to its collective reputation with Wynton Kelly, a fine bluesy and swinging pianist and a superb accompanist almost matching the solo work of the two principals. Percy Heath was a fine bassist and Art Blakey at the drums the master of them all. The arrangements are all fairly simple but the whole point of the disc is the invigorating and joyful improvising from all concerned. Blues Oriental is a minor blues with lively solos all round, Things are Getting Better a joyously funky and slightly tongue in cheek blues, Serves Me Right a marvellous example of the cooperation and entwining of lines between the members of the band, Groovin' High a fine example of the updating of a bop tune from the forties without losing any of its quality, and so on and so on. There isn't a weak spot anywhere on the disc. They sound to have had an absolute ball making this. The music is swinging, bluesy, vigorous and melodic. It makes you feel good to be alive. You can also listen to it many times and still find new subtleties in it. If I had more stars to give, I would do. These guys really are that good.
Cannoball plays on two of my favourite albums of all time - Miles Davis's Kind of Blue, and Cannoballs allbum recorded in the same year Somethin Else. I've never been a big fan of Vibraphone, but since this album was recorded in the same year as the other two and was a great price I thought I'd give it a listen. This album has completely changed my view on the instrument. The recording sounds as if it was made yesterday and the interplay between Cannoball and Milt Jackson is incredible. And to echo the previous reviewer, this is a feel good album that will bring a smile to your face.
This album is just so much fun - you can tell they enjoyed recording it together. The tracks (especially the title track) just put you in the right mood. This is an 'equally matched' album in the sense that they all (including Wynton Kelly and Art Blakey) get their fair share of the limelight with fantastic solos. A real 'feelgood' top quality album.
This is a long standing album in my collection which I upgraded to SACD format. It gets a lot of playing since Cannonball and Bags are two of my favourite jazz artists. Plays very well on my Arcam & Kef kit and has some real presence in the room when playing.