WUSF All Night Jazz Focus Artist of the Week: Cannonball Adderley

Julian “Cannonball” Adderley. Photo: NPR/Michael Ochs/Getty.

This week on All Night Jazz, we’ll focus on trend setting saxophonist Cannonball Adderley. Born right here in Tampa on September 15, 1928, 92 years ago this week, Adderley was a singular talent.

After a solid musical education in Tallahassee, Adderley made a triumphant debut in New York when challenged, during a night club audition, to play an extremely fast-paced version of the song “Bohemia After Dark.”

Things moved rapidly from there, when Cannonball and his brother and lifelong bandmate, cornetist Nat Adderley, received a major recording contract featuring a cast of all-star players.

The two brothers went on to define the jazz scene in the late ‘50s and ‘60s with a string of hits like “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy,” “Work Song,” “Jive Samba” and more.

In 1958 Cannonball joined the Miles Davis Quintet just in time to record Davis’“Kind of Blue” recording, still the best-selling jazz album of all time. In the early ‘60s, Adderley helped launch the career of singer Nancy Wilson in a classic collaboration.

We’ll hear the alto saxophone sound of Cannonball Adderley all this week on All Night Jazz.