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Old Apr 28, 2012, 12:04 AM
Gavin Walker Gavin Walker is offline
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Jazz Feature for April 30: Julian "Cannonball" Adderley:"Presenting Cannonball"

Julian "Cannonball" Adderley really doesn't or shouldn't need an introduction to anyone even mildly interested in Jazz music. Julian Edwin Adderley was born in Tampa, Florida on September 15, 1928 and died at a rather young age of a stroke in his adopted home of Gary, Indiana on August 8, 1975, he was 46. Adderley was a gifted man with a genius I.Q.and perfect pitch. He had graduated from University and was teaching high school while in his late teens. He taught school before and after his required stint in the U.S. Armed Forces. He played various instruments including the trumpet and the tenor saxophone before committing himself to the alto saxophone. Adderley became one of the leading voices (some say THE leading voice) on that horn after the death of Charlie Parker. Adderley composed and was one of the most able of bandleaders. He continued as an informal educator even after he left full-time teaching. He had a way of educating and entertaining his audiences without bowing to commercial simplicity and pandering to the lowest common denominator. During his career as a bandleader he had many hits and he would play them (sometimes several times a night in a club) to please the crowd then pull out a complex and challenging piece to the same enthusiastic reaction. He was a great ambassador for this music and was responsible for many people falling in love with the sounds of Jazz. Adderley was a strong supporter of Civil Rights and donated his time and his music to the cause. His death was a huge blow to the music community at large.

Tonight's Jazz Feature concludes this month's 'recorded debuts series' as The Jazz Show will air "Presenting Cannonball", Adderley's first album under his name. In the summer of 1955 on summer vacation from his teaching gig at Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale, Adderley and his cornet playing brother, Nat began sitting-in with various groups in New York. One momentous evening Cannonball sat in with bassist Oscar Pettiford's band at the Cafe Bohemia (THE place for Jazz in New York in the mid-50). Pettiford thought the rotund Cannonball and his diminutive brother Nat looked like country hicks and when Adderley was about to play Pettiford called "Cherokee" at a ridiculous tempo thinking he could blow them off the bandstand. Both the Adderley's rose to the challenge and especially Cannonball who blew everyone away! The Adderley's became the talk of the town and were invited back again to play. There is a great story that was told to me by Phil Woods. Phil and Jackie McLean, two of the hottest post-Parker altoists in New York at the time headed down to the Bohemia to hear what all the noise was about and after listening to Cannonball reel off chorus after chorus on "The Song is You" looked at one another and said "oh shit!" Sitting in with Pettiford led to the Adderley's first recorded appearance in a Savoy date led by Pettiford's drummer, Kenny Clarke called "Bohemia After Dark" with a group of all-stars such as Horace Silver, Jerome Richardson, Donald Byrd and Paul Chambers recorded on June 28, 1955. Two weeks later Cannonball and brother Nat recorded tonight's Feature called "Presenting Cannonball" for Savoy with a great New York rhythm section consisting of Hank Jones on piano and Chambers and Clarke on bass and drums respectively. All the tunes are by Cannonball and his ballad feature is the gorgeous old standard "Flamingo". Cannonball reveals his debt to Parker (what alto player doesn't) but there is also homage to the earlier voices as well like Benny Carter, Johnny Hodges and Willie Smith. Nat is puckish, tart and humerous on his cornet and the rhythm section purrs like a new Cadillac. It's a great debut. Not long after this date Adderley was convinced by Quincy Jones to sign an exclusive contract with Mercury and a couple of dates were done for them including one with a large string section. The following year (1956) Adderley left teaching and he and Nat moved to New York. They put together at great quintet but broke that up after a couple of years due to lack of support from Mercury. Nat joined J.J. Johnson's group and gigged with Woody Herman's band and Cannonball joined Miles Davis making Miles' band a sextet with Coltrane in a history making move. In 1959 the brothers reunited with a second quintet and signed with Orrin Keepnew's Riverside label. Their first album from the Jazz Workshop in San Francisco was a huge hit and after that, the rest is history. "Presenting Cannonball" was an auspicious beginning as you will hear on tonight's Jazz Feature.

The Adderley Feature will be heard shortly after 11pm but please feel free to drop by right at 9pm when The Jazz Show kicks off. See you then.............
Gavin Walker's The Jazz Show is heard Mondays 9PM to midnight on CITR 101.9 FM and online.
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Last edited by Gavin Walker : Apr 28, 2012 at 12:40 AM.
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