Cannonball Adderley

Cannonball Adderley was an alto saxophonist of great stature. His joyful and cheerful sound communicated instantly to his listeners. Cannonball Adderley was a jazzman who became famous for his intelligent presentation of music. He often explained what he and the musicians were doing. Adderley had a successful career as a Florida high school band director when, on a 1955 trip to New York, he was convinced to join Oscar Pettiford’s Cafe Bohemia group. His playing was so popular that he was signed to Savoy shortly after and allowed to continue to play jazz in New York. Cannonball, along with his younger brother Nat, formed a quintet, which struggled until it was broken up in 1957. Adderley joined Miles Davis’ super sextet, which included John Coltrane. He also participated on classic recordings like Milestones and Kind of Blue. Adderley’s second attempt at forming a quintet together with his brother was more successful. In 1959, Bobby Timmons and Adderley recorded “This Here”. Cannonball was able to continue working with his band steadily from that point. The Adderley Quintet played soulful versions of hard bop during its Riverside years (1959-1963). Cannonball excelled in straight-ahead settings. Yusef Lateef transformed the group into a sextet during 1962-1963. Joe Zawinul, a pianist, was an important addition to the group. After Riverside collapsed, Adderley signed with Capitol. His recordings became increasingly commercial. Charles Lloyd served as Lateef’s replacement for a year, but with less success. The group then reverted to being a quintet after his departure. The group’s 1966 hit “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy”, was recorded by Zawinul. Adderley began doubling as a soprano and the quintet’s later recordings focused on long melodies, electronic music, and funky rhythms. Cannonball Adderley, in his final year, was revisiting the past and recorded on Phenix new versions of many of his older numbers. Cannonball Adderley succumbed to a stroke shortly before he could continue to evolve his music. Allmusic

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