Monday, September 16, 2013

Julian "Cannonball" Adderley (1928-1975): Legendary Alto Saxophonist, Composer, and Bandleader--A Celebration of His Music, Life, and Legacy On the 85th Anniversary of His Birth

(b. September 15, 1928--d. August 8, 1975)

Cannonball Adderley Sextet Live in Tokyo, Japan, 1963

"Jive Samba" (Composition by Nat Adderley)

Cannonball Adderley--Alto Saxophone
Nat Adderley--Trumpet
Yusef Lateef--Tenor saxophone & flute
Sam Jones--Bass
Joe Zawinul--Piano
Louis Hayes--Drums

The Cannonball Adderley Quintet in 1959:

"Bohemia After Dark" (Composition by Oscar Pettiford)

Cannonball Adderley Quintet in San Francisco,
(Recorded Live at the Jazz Workshop)
October 18 and 20, 1959

Cannonball Adderley--Alto Saxophone
Nat Adderley--Cornet
Bobby Timmons--Piano
Sam Jones--Bass
Louis Hayes- Drums


Cannonball Adderley Quintet in Chicago recorded in 1959 (also released as Cannonball & Coltrane in 1964, on Limelight) is an album by jazz saxophonist Cannonball Adderley, his final release on the Mercury label, featuring performances by Adderley with John Coltrane, Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers and Jimmy Cobb. This band would also record the classic album Kind of Blue (1959) with Miles Davis one month following this session:

"Wabash" (Composition by Cannonball Adderley):


Cannonball Adderley--Alto Saxophone
John Coltrane --Tenor Saxophone
Paul Chambers--Bass
Wynton Kelly--Piano
Jimmy Cobb--drums




Nancy Wilson / Cannonball Adderley
Year: 1961
Label: Capitol

An excellent collaboration of the Nancy Wilson voice with the Cannonball Adderley alto sax from the early '60s. While this 1961 recording was the first time Wilson was with Adderley in the studio, it was not the first time they had worked together. After singing with Rusty Bryant's band, Wilson had worked with Adderley in Columbus, OH. (It was there that Adderley encouraged her to go to N.Y.C. to do some recording, eventually leading to this session.) Not entirely a vocal album, five of the 12 cuts are instrumentals. A highlight of the album is the gentle cornet playing of Nat Adderley behind Wilson, especially on "Save Your Love for Me" and on "The Old Country." Cannonball Adderley's swinging, boppish sax is heard to excellent effect throughout. Joe Zawinul's work behind Wilson on "The Masquerade Is Over" demonstrates that he is a talented, sensitive accompanist. On the instrumental side, "Teaneck" and "One Man's Dream" are especially good group blowing sessions. On the other end of the spectrum, Adderley's alto offers a lovely slow-tempo treatment of the Vernon Duke-Ira Gershwin masterpiece, "I Can't Get Started." To keep the listeners on their musical toes, the first couple of bars of "Save Your Love for Me" are quotes from "So What" from the Miles Davis Sextet seminal Kind of Blue session. Given the play list and the outstanding artists performing it, why any serious jazz collection would be without this classic album is difficult to comprehend.

"Walk Tall" (1967)--Composition by Cannonball Adderley from his recording "74 Miles Away" on Capitol Records


Intro features a young 25 year old Rev. Jesse Jackson. This is a Capital release - recorded live in Hollywood, California on June 12th-24th 1967. You will find this track on the LP 74 Miles Away - The Cannonball Adderley Quintet.


Walk Tall: The Music and Life of Julian "Cannonball" Adderley by Cary Ginell, Hal Leonard Books, 2013

Cannonball Adderley introduces his 1967 recording of "Walk Tall," by saying, "There are times when things don't lay the way they're supposed to lay. But regardless, you're supposed to hold your head up high and walk tall." This sums up the life of Julian "Cannonball" Adderley, a man who used a gargantuan technique on the alto saxophone, pride in heritage, devotion to educating youngsters, and insatiable musical curiosity to bridge gaps between jazz and popular music in the 1960s and '70s. His career began in 1955 with a Cinderella-like cameo in a New York nightclub, resulting in the jazz world's looking to him as "the New Bird," the successor to the late Charlie Parker. But Adderley refused to be typecast. His work with Miles Davis on the landmark Kind of Blue album helped further his reputation as a unique stylist, but Adderley's greatest fame came with his own quintet's breakthrough engagement at San Francisco's Jazz Workshop in 1959, which launched the popularization of soul jazz in the 1960s. With his loyal brother Nat by his side, along with stellar sidemen, such as keyboardist Joe Zawinul, Adderley used an engaging, erudite personality as only Duke Ellington had done before him. All this and more are captured in this engaging read by author Cary Ginell.

 The Adderley brothers in 1966
Left to right:  Julian ("Cannonball") and Nat

The music of Cannonball Adderley:

"Autumn Leaves" from: "Somethin' Else" by the Cannonball Adderley Quintet (1958 on Blue Note):

Cannonball Adderley - Alto saxophone
Miles Davis - Trumpet
Hank Jones - Piano
Sam Jones - Bass
Art Blakey - Drums


"Work Song" is a Nat Adderley composition.

Cannonball In Europe! was recorded live on August 5, 1962 at the International Jazz Festival in Comblain-La-Tour, a small town in Belgium. The recent addition of legendary reedsman Yusef Lateef pushed Adderleys combo to a powerful sextet. With three horns blazing (Lateef, brother Nat Adderley on trumpet and Cannonball on alto sax), the band charged through a stunning concert in front of the largest audience it had ever played. The five song, 50 minute set blasts off with Lateefs complex "P.Bouk" and never lets up. Favorites "Gemini" and "Work Song" are played with fire and passion.

Cannonball & Nat Adderley Sextet Live in Europe (1962)--"Work Song":

Cannonball Adderly & Nancy Wilson - "Save Your Love For Me" [Live]:

Cannonball Adderley Quintet "Mercy Mercy Mercy" (1966):




Cannonball Adderley Quintet - "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" (1966):

"You know, sometimes we're not prepared for adversity. When it happens sometimes, we're caught short. We don't know exactly how to handle it when it comes up. Sometimes, we don't know just what to do when adversity takes over. And I have advice for all of us, I got it from my pianist Joe Zawinul who wrote this tune. And it sounds like what you're supposed to say when you have that kind of problem. It's called Mercy...Mercy...Mercy..."
--Cannonball Adderley "Live at the Club" (Capitol, 1966)

Cannonball Adderley Quintet:

Cannonball Adderley (alto saxophone);
Nat Adderley (cornet)
Joe Zawinul (acoustic & electric pianos);
Victor Gaskin (bass)
Roy McCurdy (drums)

From "The Cannonball Adderley Quintet in San Francisco" (1959):


The album was recorded at the Jazz Workshop in San Francisco before an appreciative standing room only crowd. The album broke new ground as a live recording taped in noisy club environments, creating a formula which not only the Cannonball Quintet but other jazz ensembles would follow. Producer Keepnews reflected that it "was such a phenomenal success that not only did I do a lot of such recordings afterwards, but I think that virtually all jazz producers felt that it was a good thing to do". Also unusual for the time was Keepnews' decision to retain Adderley's comments to the crowd.


Cannonball Adderley -- alto saxophone
Nat Adderley -- cornet
Bobby Timmons -- piano
Sam Jones -- bass
Louis Hayes -- drums

Cannonball Adderley
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Background information

Birth name Julian Edwin Adderley
Born September 15, 1928
Tampa, Florida, United States
Died August 8, 1975 (aged 46)
Gary, Indiana, United States
Genres Hard bop, soul jazz, modal jazz, jazz rock[1]
Occupations Teacher, Saxophonist
Instruments Alto saxophone, soprano saxophone
Years active 1955–1975
Labels Blue Note, Fantasy, Capitol, Prestige, Riverside
Associated acts Nat Adderley
Miles Davis
George Duke
Yusef Lateef
Sam Jones
Joe Zawinul
Louis Hayes

Julian Edwin "Cannonball" Adderley (September 15, 1928 – August 8, 1975)[2] was a jazz alto saxophonist of the hard bop era of the 1950s and 1960s.

Adderley is remembered for his 1966 single "Mercy Mercy Mercy", a crossover hit on the pop charts, and for his work with trumpeter Miles Davis, including on the epochal album Kind of Blue (1959). He was the brother of jazz cornetist Nat Adderley, a longtime member of his band.[3]


1 Early life and career
2 Band leader
3 Later life
4 Discography
5 References
6 External links

Early life and career

Originally from Tampa, Florida, Adderley moved to New York in the mid-1950s.[3] His nickname derived originally from "cannibal," a title imposed on him by high school colleagues as a tribute to his fast eating capacity.[4]
His educational career was long established prior to teaching applied instrumental music classes at Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Cannonball moved to Tallahassee, Florida when his parents obtained teaching positions at Florida A&M University.[5] Both Cannonball and brother Nat played with Ray Charles when Charles lived in Tallahassee during the early 1940s.[6] Cannonball was a local legend in Florida until he moved to New York City in 1955, where he lived in Corona, Queens.[3][7]

It was in New York during this time that Adderley's prolific career began. Adderley visited the Cafe Bohemia, where Oscar Pettiford's group was playing that night. Adderley had brought his saxophone into the club with him, primarily because he feared that it would be stolen, and he was asked to sit in as the saxophone player was late. That performance established his reputation.[3]

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.[3]

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?.[3]
His interest as an educator carried over to his recordings. In 1961, Cannonball narrated The Child's Introduction to Jazz, released on Riverside Records.[3]

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:
--pianists Bobby Timmons, Victor Feldman, Joe Zawinul, Hal Galper, Michael Wolff, George Duke, Wynton Kelly, Bill Evans
--bassists Ray Brown, Sam Jones, Walter Booker, Victor Gaskin, Paul Chambers drummers Louis Hayes, Roy McCurdy
saxophonists Charles Lloyd, Yusef Lateef.

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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] In that same year, his quintet appeared at the Monterey Jazz Festival in California, and a brief scene of that performance was featured in the 1971 psychological thriller Play Misty for Me, starring Clint Eastwood.[citation needed] 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.[8]

Joe Zawinul's composition "Cannon Ball" (recorded on Weather Report's album Black Market) is a tribute to his former leader.[3] Pepper Adams and George Mraz dedicated the composition "Julian" on the 1975 Pepper Adams album (also called "Julian") days after Cannonball's death.[9]

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 (Am I Treated So Bad)?" also entered the charts.

Adderley was initiated as an honorary member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia fraternity (Gamma Theta chapter, University of North Texas, '60, & Xi Omega chapter, Frostburg State University, '70) and Alpha Phi Alpha (Beta Nu chapter, Florida A&M University).[10]

Adderley died of a stroke in 1975. He was buried in the Southside Cemetery, Tallahassee, Florida. Later that year he was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame.[3]


Main article: Cannonball Adderley discography


Jump up ^ Ginell, Richard S. "Black Messiah - Cannonball Adderley : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved July 8, 2012.
Jump up ^ Randel, Don Michael (1996). "Adderley, Cannonball". The Harvard biographical dictionary of music. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press. p. 5. ISBN 0-674-37299-9.
^ Jump up to: a b c d e f g h i Yanow, Scott. "Cannonball Adderley - Music Biography, Credits and Discography". Allmusic. Retrieved July 8, 2012.
Jump up ^ Gilles Miton. "Cannonball Adderley". Retrieved 2012-04-09.
Jump up ^ "Adderley, Nat (Nathaniel) – | Jazz Music – Jazz Artists – Jazz News". Retrieved 2012-12-13.
Jump up ^ Lydon, Michael, Ray Charles: Man and Music, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-97043-1, Routledge Publishing, January 22, 2004
Jump up ^ 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."
Jump up ^ "Julian "Cannonball" Adderley". Retrieved 2012-12-13.
Jump up ^ "". Retrieved 2012-12-13.
Jump up

External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Cannonball Adderley
Cannonball Adderley at Find a Grave
The Cannonball Adderley Rendez-vous
Cannonball Adderley Discography at
Podcast with clip of Cannonball Adderley's duet with the Nutty Squirrels

History with link to mp3 of Nutty Squirrels/Cannonball Adderley session

Cannonball Adderley at AllMusic
Cannonball Adderley at NPR Music
[hide] v t e

Cannonball Adderley
Studio albums

Presenting Cannonball Adderley Julian "Cannonball" Adderley Julian Cannonball Adderley and Strings In the Land of Hi-Fi with Julian Cannonball Adderley Sophisticated Swing Cannonball Enroute Cannonball's Sharpshooters Somethin' Else Portrait of Cannonball Jump for Joy Things Are Getting Better Blue Spring Cannonball Adderley Quintet in Chicago Cannonball Takes Charge The Cannonball Adderley Quintet in San Francisco Them Dirty Blues Cannonball Adderley and the Poll Winners The Cannonball Adderley Quintet at the Lighthouse Know What I Mean? African Waltz Plus Nancy Wilson/Cannonball Adderley The Cannonball Adderley Sextet in New York Cannonball in Europe! Jazz Workshop Revisited Cannonball's Bossa Nova Autumn Leaves Nippon Soul Cannonball Adderley Live! Live Session! Cannonball Adderley's Fiddler on the Roof Domination Money in the Pocket Great Love Themes Mercy, Mercy, Mercy! Live at 'The Club' Cannonball in Japan Radio Nights 74 Miles Away Why Am I Treated So Bad! In Person Accent on Africa Country Preacher The Cannonball Adderley Quintet & Orchestra Love, Sex, and the Zodiac The Price You Got to Pay to Be Free The Happy People The Black Messiah Music You All Inside Straight Pyramid Phenix Lovers

Compilation albums

Discoveries The Japanese Concerts

"Mercy, Mercy, Mercy"