The album was recorded during Adderley's membership in the Miles Davis' First Great Quintet, and it also marks one of the few recordings Davis made as a sideman after 1955. Indeed, Davis plays several of the first solos, composed the bluesy title track and, according to the liner notes, chose most of the material. "Autumn Leaves" would remain in the Davis book, and "Love for Sale" would be recorded by the Davis Sextet a little over two months later. In the original liner notes for album, Miles is quoted as follows: "All my inspiration today comes from Ahmad Jamal, the Chicago pianist. I got the idea for this treatment of "Autumn Leaves" from him."
The twelve-bar blues "One for Daddy-O" was written by Adderley's brother Nat for Chicago radio DJ Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie. At the end of that track, Davis can be heard addressing producer Alfred Lion, saying "is that what you wanted, Alfred?" Adderley and Davis would also play together on the 1958 Columbia Records release Milestones, as well as the 1959 landmark Kind of Blue, one of the most universally acclaimed jazz albums.
In the 1980s, the album was re-issued with a bonus track from the recording session that was listed as "Alison's Uncle" and credited to Cannonball Adderley. The track appeared as "Alison's Uncle" on compact disc releases in the U.S. and Japan in 1986, and it continued to appear under this title, or as "Bangoon (aka Alison's Uncle)", on reissues into the 21st century. The composition is actually Hank Jones' "Bangoon", and first appeared on Gigi Gryce's 1957 Jubilee Records album Jazz Lab, with Jones playing piano. (Gryce also recorded a second version of the tune with Jones on his Gigi Gryce album.) The title "Alison's Uncle" was created by Nat Adderley in the 1980s when he was asked by reissue producers to name a track that they could not identify. Nat Adderly's alternate title refers to the fact that the session took place shortly after Nat's daughter Alison had been born.
An alternate take of "Autumn Leaves" was released as a bonus track on a 2013 CD release in Japan.