Cannonball Adderley

This article was written by Phineas Upham

Julian Edwin Adderley earned the nickname “Cannonball” as a tribute to his never-ending appetite. He was born in Florida, and his family moved to New York during the middle of the 1950s. During his time in Florida, Adderley had the opportunity to play with Ray Charles, and he became a local legend there until his move.

Adderley’s career really began in New York, despite his previous success on the local scene. Cannonball brought his saxophone with him to a show at Café Bohemia because he feared he might lose it or it would be stolen. As luck would have it, he was asked to sit in for a late saxophone player.

His reputation was established after that night.

He and his brother formed a group and began playing. It was in 1957 that he was noticed by Miles Davis, who invited him to join his sextet. Both Coltrane and Adderley can be heard on Davis’ “Kind of Blue” record. It was an inspiring group, to say the least.

While he was with Miles, Adderley formed a quintet of his own. The first project failed, but his second group (which would later become the “Cannonball Adderley Sextet”) found a lot more success in the genre.

Later in life, Adderley became increasingly influenced by electric jazz and avant-garde music. He died in 1975 of a stroke, and was buried at a cemetery in Tallahasse, Florida. He was introduced to the jazz hall of fame the year of his death.

About the Author: Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phineas Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phineas on his Twitter page.

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