Memoirs of a shine through the jazz clubs of the hard bop arenas for the 50s and 60s, Adderley is fashioned to be the craftsman that sculpts the limelight for 90 percent of the record usually. In this case, he actually portrays an ambidextrous man that can play both the sidelines and the center field as he recruits Nat Adderley on the cornet, as well as Junior Mance on the piano and Jimmy Cobb on the percussion. Rounding on the bass is Sam Jones who becomes a standout on several pieces for Sophisticated Swing.
Less about the trials and errors of creating atmospheric draws into the music, Sophisticated Swing is a congressional walk through intricate rhythms that spawn through “Another Kind Of Soul.” The three-minute opener is popish but has these charismatic show styles that perform a layer of polish in between the drum breaks.
When the main groove sets in, Adderley can begin to dissect the track with less precise cuts and more a wide casted net of sporadic notes that aren’t quite freeform but aren’t quite planned here either. “Another Kind Of Soul” begins to walk the audience as a live performance; including moments where Adderley can provide subtle winks and nods to the audience to join in on this hearing.
Later pieces like “Miss Jackie’s Delight” or “Tribute To Brownie” are soloist dreams. The bass playing on “Miss Jackie’s Delight” to the frequently changing drum grooves on “Tribute To Brownie” become enticing and direct the band by gaslight. The snare is low tuned here, leaving Cobb in this perpetual swinging motion of clicks and fills that carries the performance here to moments of exhausted excellence.
As Jones pipes around the bass in two separate solos, the light dims back to the band to pick up the progression and move the eyes around the field. Sophisticated Swing is a team sport and focuses on the ensemble rather than the individual, ranking as a Cannonball Adderley based influence rather than the lead of the band.
It becomes preferred like on “Stella By Starlight” where Mance on the keys is a joy to the ears and doesn’t have any sectionals from Adderley. Somehow without any idea of overpowering, the instrumental is slowed and acts more like a breather to the mix than something that can conquer. The pitter-patter is rainy, but isn’t about being stuck in it, but is instead being stuck inside on this instrumental that so desperately wants to break out and leads to the demise of the record.
Sophisticated Swing is something light on the ears and is delicate enough to want to push a coalition rather than force the hands to play. Some of the brightest moments do not even include Adderley, but when he focuses and makes a face; it becomes operatic in an instrumental stance.