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Julian Edwin "Cannonball" Adderley (September 15, 1928 – August 8, 1975) was a jazz alto saxophonist of the small combo era of the 1950s and 1960s. Originally from Tampa, Floridamarker, he moved to New York in the mid 1950s.

He was the brother of jazz cornetist Nat Adderley.

Early life and career

His educational career was long established prior to teaching applied instrumental music classes at Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale, Floridamarker. Cannonball moved to Tallahassee, Floridamarker when his parents obtained teaching positions at Florida A&M Universitymarker. Both Cannonball and brother Nat played with Ray Charles when Charles lived in Tallahassee during the early 1940s. Cannonball was a local legend in Florida until he moved to New York Citymarker in 1955, where he lived in Corona, Queensmarker.

It was in New York during this time that Adderley's prolific career began. Adderley visited the Cafe Bohemia (Oscar Pettiford's group was playing that night) where he brought his saxophone into the club with him, primarily because he feared that it would be stolen. He was asked to sit in as the saxophone player was late, and in true Cannonball style, he soared through the changes, and became a sensation in the following weeks.

Prior to joining the Miles Davis band, Adderley formed his own group with his brother Nat after signing onto the Savoy jazz label in 1957. He was noticed by Miles Davis, and it was because of his blues-rooted alto saxophone that Davis asked him to play with his group.

Adderley joined the Miles Davis sextet in October 1957, three months prior to John Coltrane's return to the group. Adderley played on the seminal Davis records Milestones and Kind of Blue. This period also overlapped with pianist Bill Evans's time with the sextet, an association that led to recording Portrait of Cannonball and Know What I Mean?.

His interest as an educator carried over to his recordings. In 1961, Cannonball narrated The Child's Introduction to Jazz, released on Riverside Records.

Band leader

The Cannonball Adderley Quintet featured Cannonball on alto sax and his brother Nat Adderley on cornet. Adderley's first quintet was not very successful; however, after leaving Davis' group, he formed another, again with his brother, which enjoyed more success.

The new quintet (which later became the Cannonball Adderley Sextet), and Cannonball's other combos and groups, included such noted musicians as:

The sextet was noteworthy towards the end of the 1960s for achieving crossover success with pop audiences, but doing it without making artistic concessions.

Later life

By the end of 1960s, Adderley's playing began to reflect the influence of the electric jazz avant-garde, and Miles Davis' experiments on the album Bitches Brew. On his albums from this period, such as Accent on Africa (1968) and The Price You Got to Pay to Be Free (1970), he began doubling on soprano saxophone, showing the influence of John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter. In that same year, his quintet appeared at the Monterey Jazz Festival in Californiamarker, and a brief scene of that performance was featured in the 1971 psychological thriller Play Misty for Me, starring Clint Eastwood. In 1975 he also appeared (in an acting role alongside Jose Feliciano and David Carradine) in the episode "Battle Hymn" in the third season of the TV series Kung Fu.

Joe Zawinul's composition "Cannon Ball" (recorded on Weather Report's album Black Market) is a tribute to his former leader.

Songs made famous by Adderley and his bands include "This Here" (written by Bobby Timmons), "The Jive Samba," "Work Song" (written by Nat Adderley), "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" (written by Joe Zawinul) and "Walk Tall" (written by Zawinul, Marrow and Rein). A cover version of Pops Staples' "Why ?" also entered the charts.

Adderley was a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America Incorporated (Xi Omega, Frostburg State University, '70), the largest and oldest secret society in music and Alpha Phi Alpha, the oldest existing intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African Americans (made Beta Nu chapter, Florida A&M Universitymarker).

Adderley died of a stroke in 1975. He was buried in the Southside Cemetery, Tallahassee, Floridamarker. Later that year he was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame.

Discography

References

  1. allmusic Biography
  2. Jazz.com: Nat Adderley
  3. Lydon, Michael, Ray Charles: Man and Music, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-97043-1, Routledge Publishing, January 22, 2004
  4. Berman, Eleanor. "The jazz of Queens encompasses music royalty", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 1, 2006. Accessed October 1, 2009. "When the trolley tour proceeds, Mr. Knight points out the nearby Dorie Miller Houses, a co-op apartment complex in Corona where Clark Terry and Cannonball and Nat Adderley lived and where saxophonist Jimmy Heath still resides."
  5. Julian "Cannonball" Adderley at IMDB
  6. List of prominent members at Cornell University website.


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