Julian Edwin "Cannonball" Adderley
Posted By: Maria Reams on October 18, 2007 |
After his music studies in Tallahassee(1944/48) he became a high school band director at the Dillard High School/Fort Lauderdale (1948/50)in his native Florida , following in the footsteps of his educator-father(a trumpet player),before moving to New York in 1955. He initially planned to pursue graduate studies in Manhattan; but after sitting in with Oscar Pettiford's band at the Cafe Bohemia, the alto saxophonist became an instant sensation, hailed by many as the musician most likely to be the mantle of the late Charlie Parker. Despite misguided promotional efforts to christen him as "the new Bird," Adderley clearly had his own approach to the horn, which drew on the inspiration of Benny Carter as well as Parker. He took advantage of his early notoriety, however, by forming his first quintet, which featured his younger brother Nat Adderley on cornet.
While the group struggled economically, Cannonball did draw the attention of Miles Davis,who featured the alto saxophonist in the immortal Miles Davis sextet (alongside John Coltrane and either Red Garland, Bill Evans,or Wynton Kelly) for two years beginning in late 1957.
In September 1959, Cannonball left Davis and reunited with Nat in a new Cannonball Adderley quintet. Recorded live one month later at San Francisco's Jazz Workshop, the band became an immediate success with their version of Bobby Timmons's sanctified waltz "This Here" and a leading practitioner of what came to be called soul jazz. Numerous other hits followed over the next 16 years as the band occasionally swelled to sextet size (with the inclusion of Yusef Lateef or Charles Lloyd) and featured such important pianist/composers as Barry Harris, Victor Feldman, Joe Zawinul,George Duke, and Hal Galper. Sam Jones and Louis Hayes formed the original rhythm section, to be succeeded later by Victor Gaskin,Walter Booker, and Roy McCurdy. At the heart of the group's success throughout its existence were Cannonball, one of the most impassioned alto (and, later, soprano) saxophonists in jazz history, and Nat,whose infectious compositions (including "Work Song" and "Jivesamba") formed a critical part of the band's book.
Adderley also served as a prominent spokesperson for jazz through extensive television work and residencies at several universities.Shortly before his death following a stroke, he had recorded his original music for "Big Man," a "folk musical" based upon the life of John Henry.
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