Strictly limited to 10,000 numbered copies, pressed on dead-quiet MoFi SuperVinyl at RTI, and mastered from the original master tapes, Mobile Fidelity's ultra-hi-fi UltraDisc One-Step 180g 45RPM 2LP collector's edition pays tribute to the record's merit and enhances the intimate program. Offering reference-caliber sonics, this spectacular collector's version provides a clear, transparent, ultra-dynamic, and up-close view of a cornerstone effort that witnesses Adderley and Davis sharing horn duty alone for the only time in their fabled careers – an arrangement that occurred as a result of Adderley having joined Davis' majestic sextet a year prior.
The premium packaging and beautiful presentation of the UD1S Somethin' Else pressing befit its extremely select status. Housed in a deluxe box, it features special foil-stamped jackets and faithful-to-the-original graphics that illuminate the splendor of the recording. No expense has been spared. Aurally and visually, this UD1S reissue exists as a curatorial artifact meant to be preserved, touched, and examined. It is made for discerning listeners that prize sound quality and production, and who desire to fully immerse themselves in the art – and everything involved with the album, from the iconic photos to the gorgeous finishes.
The vibrant potency reveals itself openly on an analog set that provides full-range reproduction of an ensemble that also includes pianist Hank Jones, bassist Sam Jones, and drummer Art Blakey. Each and every snare hit, downbeat, and cymbal splash registered by the latter take on realistic proportions, blooming and decaying as they would right in front of you on a stage. Jones' foundational bass lines register with uncommon depth and palpability, the litheness of the strings and fullness of the instrument epitomizing the definition of rhythm. Stellar, too, are the surefooted 88s. Sublime in scale, tonality, and attack, with the delineation such you can practically separate the white and black keys in your mind. As for that liquid interplay between Adderley and Davis? Breathtakingly lifelike in timbre, naturalism, purity, and presence. This collector's version takes you there – there being Rudy Van Gelder's legendary New Jersey studio in March 1958 to witness it all unfold, again and again.
For reasons that extend far beyond the outstanding playing and flawless repertoire, Somethin' Else is without question a record you'll always want to watch and hear come together. As veteran critic Bob Blumenthal observed writing about the album four decades after its release, "The instant rapport achieved by the quintet is thus the product of much shared and common history, though the tensile strength that they create throughout created a totally unique feeling that can be attributed to the sensitive musicianship of all concerned, including the supposedly hard bopping leader and drummer." Such inimitable feeling, or emotion, courses throughout every passage, and no where more obviously than on "Autumn Leaves" and "Love for Sale."
Without question, the discreet interpretations of the Johnny Mercer and Cole Porter songs, respectively, found on Somethin' Else have long been considered part of jazz's alluring mystique. Adderley and Davis bring contrasting approaches to the table yet sound of a singular mind on "Autumn Leaves," with the latter's muted trumpet and the headliner's lush alto saxophone dovetailing into a performance that endures as a blueprint for expression, counterpoint, sophistication, fluidity, and linearity. Blues, melody, and romance pour from their horns. Their bandmates, picking up on the intimate vibe and calm mood here – as well as on the spry, head-over-heels spirit of "Love for Sale" – join in on the conversation with sharp economy and float-on-air roundedness.
Not to undersell the other three numbers, all deserving five-star status. Twelve measures in length, the title track offers a slow burn in swing. Written by Adderley's brother, Nat, the 12-bar "One for Daddy-O" transmits funk flavors. The closing "Dancing in the Dark" pops with lushness and temptation, its stream of bold colors and understated textures calling for a moonlight twirl, or at least fantasies suggestive of a memorable night. Somethin' else, indeed.
More About Mobile Fidelity UltraDisc One-Step and Why It Is Superior
Instead of utilizing the industry-standard three-step lacquer process, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab's new UltraDisc One-Step (UD1S) uses only one step, bypassing two processes of generational loss. While three-step processing is designed for optimum yield and efficiency, UD1S is created for the ultimate in sound quality. Just as Mobile Fidelity pioneered the UHQR (Ultra High-Quality Record) with JVC in the 1980s, UD1S again represents another state-of-the-art advance in the record-manufacturing process. MFSL engineers begin with the original master recordings, painstakingly transfer them to DSD 256, and meticulously cut a set of lacquers. These lacquers are used to create a very fragile, pristine UD1S stamper called a "convert." Delicate "converts" are then formed into the actual record stampers, producing a final product that literally and figuratively brings you closer to the music. By skipping the additional steps of pulling another positive and an additional negative, as done in the three-step process used in standard pressings, UD1S produces a final LP with the lowest noise floor possible today. The removal of the additional two steps of generational loss in the plating process reveals tremendous amounts of extra musical detail and dynamics, which are otherwise lost due to the standard copying process. The exclusive nature of these very limited pressings guarantees that every UD1S pressing serves as an immaculate replica of the lacquer sourced directly from the original master recording. Every conceivable aspect of vinyl production is optimized to produce the most perfect record album available today.
Developed by NEOTECH and RTI, MoFi SuperVinyl is the most exacting-to-specification vinyl compound ever devised. Analog lovers have never seen (or heard) anything like it. Extraordinarily expensive and extremely painstaking to produce, the special proprietary compound addresses two specific areas of improvement: noise floor reduction and enhanced groove definition. The vinyl composition features a new carbonless dye (hold the disc up to the light and see) and produces the world's quietest surfaces. This high-definition formula also allows for the creation of cleaner grooves that are indistinguishable from the original lacquer. MoFi SuperVinyl provides the closest approximation of what the label's engineers hear in the mastering lab.