1928-1975. From Tampa, real name Julian; nickname came from his rotund physique or from "Cannibal", which also explained his physique. Hit New York City in the mid 50's, sounding like a reincarnation of Bird; it led to his inclusion in Miles Davis' quintet. "Threw it all away" to become a soul jazz star in the 60's, never sacrificing the jazz content; he had hits, thanks to great tunes by his brother Nat, Bobby Timmons, and Joe Zawinul. A great teacher and leader.

Cannonball Adderley

Full Name: Julian Edwin Adderley
Born: 15th September 1928
Died: 8th August 1975

The Start

Adderely was mostly well known for swinging and mellow Alto Saxophone improviations. He was in short a central figure in modern Jazz.

Julian Edwin Adderely was born on the 15th September, after spending years in school he gained his childhood nickname cannonball which was a corruption of the word "cannibal", this because of his huge appetite. from 1942 he played in bands in Florida and directed a high school band in Fort Lauderdale for more then 2 years from September 1948, this was following the footsteps of his father who was a trumpet player. in 1955 he resumed teaching after spending 3 years playing for Army Bands.

Shortly after starting teaching, Adderley sat in a jamming session with Oscar Pettiford's band at the cafe Bohemia, the Alto Saxophonist became a big hit straight away and hailed by many a musician as mostly likely the mantle of the late Charlie Parker. Even with misguided promotional efforts to brand Adderely as "the new bird", it was clear to anyone that Adderely really has his own ideas and his own style that wasnt anything like Parker at all. Out of everyone Adderley drew from Benny Carter as well as Parker, but from his previous notoriety he took it on himself to form his first quintet which also featured his younger brother Nat Addereley on Cornet.

Although the band never really took off, it did catch the attention of Miles Davis and later Davis got Adderely playing in the Sextet which featured John Coltrane, Red Garland, Bill Evans and Wynton Kelly.

1959 - Onwards...

1959 saw Adderley leave Davis and watch him return to his younger brother, and they both formed a new quintet. One month later they were recording at San Francisco's Jazz workshop. With their great version of Bobby Timmons's "Sanctified Waltz" the band became a big hit overnight.

Adderely continued his Afro-rooted approach to jazz and several of his sidemen including George Duke became big players in their own right. One man in particular helped Adderely in his style of playing, his name was Joe Zawinul and he wrote "Mercy Mercy Mercy" which also highlighted the electric piano in Jazz context.

The Majority of his work as a leader appeared on the Riverside and Capitol labels. He died of a stroke on tour in Gary, Indiana, on August 8th 1975.

The full classic story of Cannonball Adderley's nickname is that he was at first called »Cannibal« because, when they were young, he was so fat and his brother (Nat, a noted trumpet player in his own right) so thin that it seemed as though Julian must have eaten most of Nat (or so their friends would claim). It was subsequently misheard as »Cannonball« when he began to meet people who didn't know his brother or their background, just that Adderley was in fact very fat. Since »Cannonball« makes much more immediate sense and is also honestly a pretty cool nickname in itself, that's what stuck.

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