Cannonball Adderley

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Cannonball recorded more than 60 albums as a feature artist and collaborated as a sideman on at least 60 more. He performed with many other legendary musicians such as Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Quincy Jones and Chuck Mangione. His collaborations include work with singers like Sarah Vaughn, Dinah Washington and his protégé, Nancy Wilson.

He became one of the masters of hard bop and later originated what became known as soul jazz, taking his influence from the black church.


"When introduced, bop was as unpopular as swing had been popular. The complexity of the style often left the audience behind. The funky players were interested in recapturing the audience and reestablishing the hot jazz expression that had been abandoned by the cool style. This return was enthusiastic and reached back to the most communicative music in their past- church music.

Gospel jazz or soul jazz is an extension of funky jazz. Another motive, less defined and certainly debatable, was the need to reclaim jazz as a predominantly African-American expression. Cool, and particularly West Coast jazz, was predominantly white even though Davis and Young were the forerunners. The structured, soft-spoken arrangements were certainly more typical of the European tradition than the expressive African-American voice heard in the early blues."
-Loosely excerpted from Jazz, The Essential Companion

Cannonball listened to all different types of music and incorporated various styles into his work which helped to fuel the fusion movement. He included sounds from the Orient, Africa and South America to name just a few.

Though he became a legendary musician of international prominence and attracted one of the world's largest jazz audiences during his 20-year musical career, he remained an educator at the core. He was known for engaging the audience as if talking to a good friend about the music coming from his heart.

To listen sample of his style and hear one of The Cannonball Adderley Quintet's top hits, download this Wave file of "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy."

This is a Wave file of Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.

Click on the icon to download Windows Media Player.



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© Copyright 2000 Angela Dean Vigil
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Last revised: 11-26-2000