Cannonball Adderley

(1928 – 1975)

One of the great alto saxophonists, Cannonball Adderley had an exuberant and happy sound that communicated immediately to listeners. His presentation of his music (often explaining what he and his musicians were going to play) helped make him one of the most popular of all jazzmen.

Adderley had an established career as a high school band director in Florida when, during a 1955 visit to New York, he was persuaded to sit in with Oscar Pettiford’s group at the Cafe Bohemia. His playing created such a sensation that he was soon signed to Savoy and persuaded to play jazz full-time in New York. Adderley then joined Miles Davis, forming part of his super sextet with John Coltrane and participating on such classic recordings as Milestones and Kind of Blue. Kind of Blue remains the greatest selling Jazz album of all time. 

Adderley made a very successful bandleader. His records for Riverside and later Capitol records were extraordinarily successful. These groups similar to Art Blakey became development grounds for some of the most important musicians of the coming generations. From Yusef Lateef to Joe Zawinul, from George Duke to Airto Moreira.  Adderley is a dearly beloved musician who created an extraordinary amount of music before his untimely death. He is remembered for his early adoption of Bossa Nova, general love of Brazilian music and musicians and for his highly sampled collaborations with David Axelrod.

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