Sourced from the original analog master tapes and housed in a mini-LP-style gatefold sleeve, Mobile Fidelity's numbered-edition hybrid SACD pays tribute to the record's merit and includes the bonus track "Allison's Uncle." This collector's edition 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' sextet a year prior.
That vibrancy reveals itself openly on a reissue 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 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 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? Lifelike in timbre, naturalism, purity, and presence.
For reasons that extend far beyond the outstanding playing and flawless repertoire, Somethin' Else is 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 emotion courses throughout every passage, and no where more obviously than on "Autumn Leaves" and "Love for Sale."
The interpretations of the Johnny Mercer and Cole Porter songs, respectively, 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 – 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 of 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.