New stars are a dime a dozen in
jazz nowadays. Every sixteen bars or so, somebody comes along who
is hailed as the next this or the coming that, and in no more
time than it takes to sign his name to a record contract, presto!
he is the Star of his own LP.
New stars of the caliber of
Cannonball, however, are by no means a dime a dozen. This much
was obvious almost from the moment he got off the train from
Before we go any further it might
be as well to explain that Cannonball's nickname has no bearing,
except perhaps a coincidental one, on the dynamic manner in which
he projects his musical thoughts through his alto saxophone. The
name derived originally from "cannibal," an honorific
title imposed on him by high school colleagues as a tribute to
his vast eating capacity. (When you see Cannonball you will
observe that his appetite clearly has not diminished).
As far as his family is concerned
Cannonball is Julian Adderley, born September 15, 1928 in Tampa,
Florida. Studying music at high school and college in Tallahassee
from 1940 to '48, he became proficient on trumpet, later on alto,
clarinet, tenor and flute.
Everybody in the Adderley family
is musically inclined. Julian and his brother Nat, who plays
trumpet on these sides, enjoyed a period of juvenile glory as boy
sopranos. Their father, a jazz cornetist, and an old college
roommate of his by the name of Kirksey who became a band director
in Florida, were the major influences on the younger Adderleys.
Julian himself became band director at Dillard High School in
Fort Lauderdale in 1948. He has remained there almost
continuously, with time out for a period in the service and for
further studies of reed instruments at the U.S. Naval School of
Music in Washington in 1952. As side ventures during his tenure
at Dillard, he has had his own group off and on since 1948. While
in the Army in 1952 to '53 he led both a large dance band and a
In the summer of 1955 Cannonball
came to New York. On the night after his arrival he and Nat
visited the Café Bohemia in Greenwich Village, where Oscar
Pettiford was leading a small group in which the tenor player was
Jerome Richardson, whom you will hear on these sides with
Cannonball. Richardson happened to show-up late that night, so
Pettiford, who knew little about Cannonball and was not too
anxious to take a chance, grudgingly allowed him to sit in.
Pettiford whipped the band into I'll Remember April at a
racehorse pace, fully expecting to chase an embarrassed
Cannonball off the bandstand. Cannon-ball, of course, sailed
through a long solo with an equanimity that astonished everybody.
As you might expect, he remained on the stand as a welcome guest
for the rest of the night.
Within a few days word about
Cannonball had spread around town. On the recommendation of
Quincy Jones and Clark Terry, Bob Shad of EmArcy took the
unprecedented step of signing Cannonball to an exclusive contract
without ever having heard him play.
The performances on these sides,
for which Quincy wrote the arrangements, took place at three
sessions held in New York City. At the first date, on July 21,
1955, the personnel included Cannonball on alto, his brother Nat
Adderley on trumpet, Jerome Richardson on tenor, Cecil Payne on
baritone, Jimmy Cleveland on trombone, John Williams on piano,
Kenny Clarke on drums and Paul Chambers on bass. At this session
the numbers recorded were The Song is You, Cynthia's in Love,
Hurricane Connie, and an old pop song called Purple Shades.
At the second date, held July 29,
the same personnel was used except that J. J. Johnson replaced
Cleveland. The tunes cut were Cannonball, written by Julian;
Nat's Everglades; and You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To.
On the third session, recorded
August 5, a second personnel change was made: Max Roach replaced
Clarke, J. J. was still on trombone and the rest of the men were
the same. This date produced Willows, an old standard tune;
Fallen Feathers, a Quincy Jones original inspired by a famous
CharlieParker solo; and Rose Room.
I believe that in the course of
listening to these ten performances you will derive a clear
picture of the magnitude and flexibility of Cannonball's talent.
On a casual first hearing, particularly if you happen to listen
to one of the faster tunes, you may get the impression that he
sounds like Charlie Parker. Up to a point you would be right; but
if you were to claim that a new ball player hit the way Jackie
Robinson used to, or that a new speaker you heard at a banquet
reminded you of the way F.D.R. spoke English, would any
derogation, any implication of lack of originality be implied? Is
there any better way of doing any job than the best way?
Cannonball sounds like Parker only to the same extent that any
two other artists in any other field might similarly be compared.
Like F.D.R. and the speaker at the banquet, you could say that
Parker and Cannonball both spoke the same language.
Cannonball's favorite alto men are
Charlie Parker and Benny Carter. That the peerless Benny made an
impression on him that is still reflected in his work can be
heard by close study of the several slow tempo numbers in this
It would be hard to select any one
item as a complete demonstration of Cannonball's talent, but my
personal choice would be the number that bears his name as its
title-on which, by the way, Nat also delivers what is probably
his most impressive solo in the entire set.
With occasional notable exceptions
such as the late Fats Navarro, Florida has not made a large
contribution to jazz history. This gap in our culture may be said
to have been filled substantially by the arrival of Cannonball;
and after hearing these sides there can't be much doubt in
anybody's mind that he has indeed arrived. I wonder whether those
young students at Dillard High know just how lucky they are.
Liner Notes by Leonard Feather.