Cannonball Adderley

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About Cannonball Adderley

Alto saxophonist Julian Edwin “Cannonball” Adderley was involved in some of the greatest recordings of the hard-bop and soul jazz eras as an agile sideman and bandleader. He was born in Tampa in 1928, and in the early 1940s he and his trumpeter brother, Nat, played with Ray Charles. Adderley made a series of albums for EmArcy and Savoy after he moved to New York in 1955, attracting the attention of Miles Davis, who invited him to join his own band in 1957. Adderley made indelible contributions to Milestones and the classic Kind of Blue, playing alongside John Coltrane on the frontline. Davis returned the favor, playing on the saxophonist’s superb 1958 Blue Note album Somethin’ Else. Adderley continued to lead his own bands, recording for a variety of labels. He adapted to shifting tastes in the 1960s, cutting a breakthrough collaboration with singer Nancy Wilson in 1962, dabbling in bossa nova, and helping to popularize the soul jazz sound, particularly with his 1967 album Mercy, Mercy, Mercy! Live at “The Club”, whose Joe Zawinul-penned title track became a major crossover hit. He embraced the influences of soul and rock music into the next decade, recording until his death in 1975 at 46.

Tampa, FL, United States
September 15, 1928
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