CANNONBALL! … Adderley

Where Did Cannonball Adderley Come From: Origin and Influences

Cannonball was born in Tampa, Florida. His given name was Julian Edwin Adderley. He was inspired by many great artists including the likes of Benny Carter. Although, it could be said that his main influence was his father who, along with Julian’s mother, taught at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University or FAMU. From 1944 to 1948 he would attend the same school his parents taught at, FAMU, to study music. After finishing there he would stay in Florida to become a band director at a local high-school. He had stayed true to his origin and developed skills to become one of the best while at it, he was a neighborhood legend.

What Makes His Music So Special: Elements

Cannonball’s music possessed many elements of the traditional and group jazz that he played. However, there are a few that made him truly special. The first is that when performing, he had wht people call an “intelligent presentation” of his music. This means that he would not only announce the name of the upcoming piece, but he would sometimes explain the artistry behind it. This made him popular with all crowds as they gained the ability to be more intimate with the pieces. Another was his “happy” sound. Although non-musicians identify his sound as happy and cannot explain why musicians offer the explanation of upbeat tempos, the often substitution of higher notes, and long melody statements. The last element was his ability to change and adapt, as the times were moving quickly, so was Adderley, he transitioned through many types of jazz such as hard bop and soul jazz, being equally as gifted in all of them.
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Social Implications and Commodification

Adderley was a black man on a role, through periods of unsuccessfulness, different music groups, and different music styles he persevered, making his return plentiful. His articulation and that “intelligent presentation” I mentioned earlier would allow for all audiences, black and white to understand and love him, therefore his crowds and his money grew larger while bringing different groups of people together. The effect he had on America socially is also demonstrated by his ability to be on many jazz programs and have residencies at just as many universities. There is little record of actual accounts of the money he bought in for himself and any record labels he produced under but it is thought to be plentiful.

His Influence

As indicated by the social implications of Adderley and his music, his influence was widespread. Jazz artists in all of the subgroups of jazz would use his “intelligent presentation” to communicate more effectively with their artists. Artists in more recent years have been quoted drawing upon his ability to mix genres of jazz and not stay confined to one type of music. His influence can also be seen in hip-hop, his music has been sampled to create a sound unobtainable by modern day producers. One example is the song Long Run by Fly Union, a largely popular song featured on the even more popular game, NBA 2k14 (You can view this song by using the "click here" button). His influence is matched by few other jazz artists.
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My Opinion?

I like Cannonball’s story, I think it makes him one of the most lovable jazz artists. Audiences, then and now have the ability to connect with him at many different points whether it be through his background at an HBCU, his being nicknamed at a young age, or the fact that he’s had ups and downs in his career. And if those points weren’t enough, there are many more. My point is, yes his music is amazing, but what makes him different is the fact that one can view him as a person. He is the audience’s best friend yet he is still the Cannonball Adderley.

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