September 15: Saxophonist "Cannonball" Adderley's birthday is today...

 ... he died on August 8, 1975 one month before his 47th birthday.

Julian Edwin "Cannonball" Adderley was a jazz alto saxophonist of the hard-bop era of the 1950s and 1960s. Raised in Tampa, Florida, Cannonball and brother Nat played with Ray Charles when Charles lived in Tallahassee during the early 1940s. He moved to New York in the mid 1950s.

One night, Adderley went to the Cafe Bohemia,  bringing his saxophone with him so wouldn't  be stolen. He was asked to sit in as the saxophone player was late. Cannonball was on fire that night and became an instant sensation.

In 1957 Miles Davis asked him to play with his group, three months prior to John Coltrane's return to the group. Adderley played on the Davis records Milestones and Kind of Blue. This period also overlapped with pianist Bill Evans's time with the sextet, an association that led to recording "Portrait of Cannonball" and "Know What I Mean?"

Adderley's best known songs include "This Here," "The Jive Samba," "Work Song," "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" and "Walk Tall."


Adderley died of a stroke in 1975. Later that year he was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame.

His interest as an educator carried over to his recordings. In 1961, Cannonball narrated The Child's Introduction to Jazz.

HIGHLY Recommended:

 Know What I MeanSextet in New YorkSomethin' ElseNancy Wilson & Cannonball Adderley