Saxophonist Cannonball Adderley Biography | Teen Jazz Legend

Saxophonist Julian Edwin Adderley, better known as Cannonball Adderley was born September 15, 1928 in Tampa, Florida. He began to establish himself during the hard bop era, but is best remembered as a cross-over artist in the pop charts for his recording of “Mercy Mercy Mercy” and his collaboration with Miles Davis on “Kind of Blue.”

While living in Florida, Cannonball Adderley, along with his brother and fellow musician Nat Adderley (a trumpet player), collaborated with Ray Charles. The two would continue to work together throughout their careers as part of the Cannonball Adderley Quintet and other groups.

In the 1950s, Cannonball moved to New York and it was not long after that his career as a performer really took off. He signed with Savoy in 1957 along with his brother, trumpet player Nat Adderley. It was also during this year that he began to collaborate with Miles Davis.

Cannonball Adderley was also a renowned music educator. While in Florida, he worked as a high school band director and his love for teaching was apparent in the talks he would give during performances.

His nickname, Cannonball, is supposedly derived from his ability to quickly eat food. It was given to him in high school. He passed away due to a stroke in 1975. He was 46 years old.

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Published on: July 8, 2014

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