Julian “Cannonball” Adderley

Julian “Cannonball” Adderley

Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida, USA
Death 8 Aug 1975 (aged 46)
Gary, Lake County, Indiana, USA
Burial Tallahassee, Leon County, Florida, USA
Memorial ID 8400 · View Source
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Jazz Musician. He was a well-known and popular American soulful jazz alto saxophonist of the 1960s who explored bebop, modal, soul-fusion styles (which was exemplified by his composition "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!"), and was one of the leading alto saxophonists of his generation after jazz legend Charlie Parker. Born in Tampa, Florida, into a musical family, he was introduced to music by his father, a cornetist. Originally nicknamed "Cannonball" in high school for his large appetite, the nickname stuck throughout his music career. He was performing in local band by the time he was 14, later graduating from Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida. Drafted into the United States Army in 1950, he became leader of the 36th Army Dance Band. He led his own band while studying music at the United States Naval Academy and then led an army band while stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Adderley also went on to teach music as a high school band director in his home state before moving to New York City, New York to join his brother, Nat Adderley, in 1955. He immediately found success on the New York jazz scene, joining the bands of Oscar Pettiford and, later, Miles Davis. His playing caused such a sensation that he was signed almost immediately to a recording contract and soon performing full-time in New York. He first attempted to form a quintet with his brother, Nat, in 1957, and later had a brief collaboration with Davis. The recordings he made with Davis- which included John Coltrane on tenor saxophone, Paul Chambers on bass, and Wynton Kelly on piano-are some of the most celebrated of the 1950s. He later formed a successful quintet with Nat Adderley in 1959 and built on the influence of Davis and Charlie Parker. From then on, he worked steadily. During its 16 years, the quintet played soul jazz style, fusion, and mainstream post-bop, earning critical and popular acclaim and a reputation for drawing heavily on blues and gospel. His personality also played a pivotal role in sustaining the band's prominence among fans worldwide. Some critics hailed Adderley as the "new Bird," noting his style's debt to Parker. In the early 1960 he played a soulful hard bop, recording on the Riverside label. After Riverside's collapse, he signed with Capitol records, the company at which he recorded his most commercial work and then recorded for the Fantasy label. Often doubling on soprano saxophone, he became an important innovator on his horn, eventually teaching and lecturing on jazz, and serving as a prominent spokesperson for the musician genre through extensive television work and residences at several universities. He also experimented with different rhythms and electronics, and before his death, he had begun to re-record some of his earlier numbers. Some of his finest performances appear on the releases "Something Else", "Cannonball and Coltrane", "Miles Davis's Kind of Blue", and the popular Adderley quintet album "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy! Live at "The Club" (1966). He suffered a stroke on stage while on tour in Gary, Indiana at age 46.

Bio by: Curtis Jackson

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 8 Feb 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 8400
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Julian “Cannonball” Adderley (15 Sep 1928–8 Aug 1975), Find a Grave Memorial no. 8400, citing Southside Cemetery, Tallahassee, Leon County, Florida, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .