Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Things Are Getting Better
Genres: Jazz, Pop
All-star session recorded in NYC in the autumn of 1958, led by Cannonball Adderley on alto sax, and Milt Jackson on vibes. The rhythm section is also no less noteworthy with Wynton Kelly on piano, Percy Heath on bass and A... more »
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All-star session recorded in NYC in the autumn of 1958, led by Cannonball Adderley on alto sax, and Milt Jackson on vibes. The rhythm section is also no less noteworthy with Wynton Kelly on piano, Percy Heath on bass and Art Blakey on drums. This date represents an interesting and successful juxtaposition of the two sides of jazz at the time, with Adderley coming from the more improvisational and swinging side of downtown jazz and Jackson coming from the more cerebral side of jazz as 'high art'. But despite hailing from different sides of the scene, both men are considered venerable "practitioners of the blues" and this is perhaps the tie that binds these men together on this memorable date. The group plays a range of tunes including two of Adderley's own compositions: the title track "Things Are Getting Better" and "Sounds For Sid" (dedicated to a favorite disc jockey of the time). Jackson also contributes one of his own themes with the original "Blues Oriental", which leads off the disc. They also play Dizzy's bop-era classic "Groovin' High", while Adderley presents his own modern take on "The Sidewalks of New York". An important meeting of top shelf jazz musicians in a critical year in jazz history.
One of Cannonball's best - with great sidemen
douglasnegley | Pittsburgh, Pa. United States | 08/31/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I really hope that this CD has reissued the VERY beginning of "Things Are Getting Better", where Cannonball tells the engineer (Jack Higgins) what the tune will consist of, who plays when, and then tells the lineup to "speak your little sermon, then get the **** out". "Blues Oriental" is great, as is this whole CD, "Groovin' High" being my personal favorite, but what makes it one of the best are the collaberators - Wynton Kelly, Percy Heath, Milt Jackson, and Art Blakey, who, by the way, plays perfectly behind this band. Cannonball is at ease and blowing so well here because of these players. I really believe that Riverside (the label that originally recorded this and a host of other great classic '50s and early '60s jazz LPs) got the best out of many of these artists, for whatever reason. Another great Riverside Cannonball recording was "Portrait of Cannonball" with Blue Mitchell and Bill Evans, with Philly Joe Jones, and Sam Jones."
Christopher | Ipswich, Massachusetts United States | 12/02/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Adderley's and Jackson's playing on this record speaks for itself. If you know someone that has never heard Cannonball, this is one of the records to have them listen to. His playing is truly among the most lyrical in jazz-he can bend and twist notes like no one else. The title tack swongs so hard its difficult not to move when you're listening to it. Also for any lovers of Art Blakey's drumming, this one shows how steady he has doing the most simple playing yet totally driving the rhythym section. A great one to have."
A Little-Known But Good Collection
J H Murphy | Agoura, California USA | 06/04/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Poor Percy Heath. He was the MJQ bassist who played on this session, and is completely overlooked in the company of the jazz luminaries who make up the personnel for this album. He really didn't have much of a chance to shine on this album, but then with Cannonball, Milt, and Art playing, who would? Wynton Kelly completes the group, better known for playing with Miles Davis. Percy only has one notable solo on the title track.
But, like Percy Heath, this CD seems to fly under the radar. It seems to be missing from several discographies of the major players. And that's a bit of a shame, since this is a good, solid, straight-ahead jazz album.
The longer tracks (Things, Sidewalks, Just One) are the most satisfying for me. The blend of cerebral and improvisational playing gives some great performances. The drawback, I think, is that this is really not a fast-paced album by comparison to some of Cannonball Adderley's other work, if you are expecting that.
I'll second some of the other reviews -- Blues Oriental is a standout piece, and could well have been the title track. Serves Me Right goes a little more to a moody and introspective motif. The other two tracks (Groovin', Sounds) didn't really stand out for me.
So, if you are a fan of any of these players, this is worth a listen (except for Art and Percy, who didn't really get a chance to shine in this company). And I could listen to Milt or Cannonball all day long anyway. Four-and-a-half stars."