A couple of decades ago Sophisicated
Swing was the title of an instrumental tune - by Will Hudson,
if our memory holds up - and the music that corresponded with it
had a certain sleekness that probably justified the title by the
standards of that era. But today sophistication in jazz has a
somewhat deeper meaning. The true jazz sophisticate has absorbed
the lessons of a new musical generation, one that brought with it
great advances in harmonic, melodic and rhythmic subtlety. The
word "swing", too, has acquired a significance mare
far-reaching than any of us could have imagined in the days of
monotonous four-to-the-bar rhythm sections and comparatively
limited and unimaginative syncopation.
Adderley and his fellow-workers are eloquent spokesmen far this
new sophistication and new swing. They are essentially products
of bop, with all the ineradicable advances connoted by that term;
but their ties with the roots of jazz have never been broken. The
instrumentation is that of the classic bop group of the early
1940s - of the memorable Gillespie-Parker quintet.
The Adderley Brothers have been
heard in a variety of settings during their two years here at EmArcy:
with an eight-piece band on 36043,
then Julian with Richard Hayman an4 a string ensemble on 36063,
followed by bath brothers in an Ernie Wilkins orchestral setting
on 36077, and under Nat's leadership in the most recent set,
entitled To The IVY League, on 36100. The present sides
are closest in personnel and spirit to the last-named set: the
Adderleys, Junior Mance and Sam Jones are still present and the
only change is in the drum chair, now occupied by Jimmy Cobb,
best remembered for his long association with Dinah Washington.
Casting his valuable shadow over
the scene, too, is Gene Wright the bass man and composer, who
wrote three of the themes for this date. Gene, heard as a
valuable sideman with Buddy De France, Cal Tjader and other West
Coast combos, contributed Miss Jackie's Deli9ht,
Edie McLin and Cobbweb.
The session opens with Another
Kind Of Saul, a minor-key theme by Nat. The tempo is brisk and
the team-work concise and compact; perhaps the title was intended
to convey that soulfulness can go horn-in-horn with
sophistication and a relentlessly solid beat.
Miss Jackie's Delight was
named for a lady disc jockey in Gene Wright's present bailiwick,
San Francisco. "Gene really put all his into this one,"
says Cannonball. It's an extended performance - the longest track
in the album - based on the blues, with Sam's bass walking 24
measures before the theme, which he plays in unison with the two
horns. Notice, later, the ingenious rhythmic punctuations under
the Adderleys' solos, and the wonderfully funky Mance piano.
Spring Is Here is taken slowly as
an alto solo throughout with Julian milking the melody, and a
particularly pretty ending.
Tribute To Brownie, by Atlanta
pianist Duke Pearson, was written a few minutes after he had
heard the tragic news of Clifford Brown's death. A minor theme
reminiscent at times of the kind of phrases Brownie used to play,
it features alto and bass solos; Nat out of respect for Brownie,
limits himself to an ensemble role, far nobody could take
Clifford's place in this moving tribute.
Spectacular was wriflen by bassist
Sam Jones and is executed at the spectacular pace of some 80 bars
per minute. The tempo is a challenge met head-on with complete
aplomb by the brothers and Junior and Sam in their solos.
Jeanie is a medium-bright blues by
Sam, named for his daughter. Sam is in his glory, playing the
first solo and making a truly melodic excursion out of his three
choruses. Nat reaches into the stratosphere for a
sound-barrier-shattering solo, Cannonball swings the blues like
nobody since Bird, and Junior Mance wails his way through to the
brief reprise of the theme.
Stella By Starlight uses the
Victor Young standard as a vehicle for Junior Mance's piano.
Opening rubato, he goes into a slow tempo as the theme is exposed
with simple melodic directness.
Edie McLin was named for a
celebrated jazz fan in Los Angeles. Again the tempo, mood and
format are of unmistakable blues coloration. Finally the newest
member of the group, Jimmy Cobb, is permitted to flex his
muscles, sticks and snares as he entangles himself in the