This album was the first time Adderley and Jackson, two accomplished jazz artists of their time, were brought together. They had a common bond, which was that the blues influenced their music and you can hear its effect on this album, especially on “Sounds of Sid.” The rest of the band is made up musicians just as talented in their own right: pianist Wynton Kelly, Jackson’s MJQ partner, bassist Percy Heath and the ubiquitous Art Blakely on drums.
The more notable selections include “Blues Oriental,” a Jackson composition that also appears on his Best of Milt Jackson Album for Riverside records. On the Adderley-penned “Things Are Getting Better,” the guys are really swingin’ and they capture the emotion of the song’s title so well. If you have a list of songs to cheer you up, this belongs on it. But that good mood won’t last long because the next track, “Serves Me Right (Take 5),” is a sad, slow blues. It’s the musical equivalent of a man at the end of the bar bar that is telling you about the mistakes he made and knows he’s to blame for them. “The Sidewalks of New York” captures the vibe of its namesake. Two different versions in (take 5) sounds like the hustle and bustle of the day and the bonus track (take 4) sounds like the lazy, late night. Very interesting to hear two takes of the same song sound so different, especially when they were recorded one after the other. They close the album with a rendition of “Just One of Those Things,” and you can’t ever go wrong covering Cole Porter. The guys are having fun and really let it rip.
Things certainly would have gotten better if Adderley and Jackson had teamed up again, but at least we’re lucky enough to have these nine tracks.