Remembering Cannonball Adderley — an appreciation by Quincy Jones

August 1st, 2014

_____

 

Cannonball Adderley was an endearing, charismatic and cutting-edge musician who, as Adderley biographer Cary Ginell writes in the introduction of Walk Tall:  The Music and Life of Julian “Cannonball” Adderley “brought an enthusiasm for his music to nightclubs around the world, expanding jazz’s boundaries with a fresh exuberance as the music progressed from the bebop of the 1940s and ’50s to combine with gospel and soul to help pioneer the subgenres of hard bop and soul jazz in the ’60’s.”  His signature sound — though cut short at the age of 46 in 1975 — remains an essential ingredient of the music’s past, present and future.

I am in the process of working on an interview with Ginell, which I expect will be published sometime in August.   Meanwhile, the book’s Foreward — a fond remembrance of Adderley by his friend Quincy Jones — is published here in its entirety, with the gracious consent of Hal Leonard Books.

_____________________

Foreward to Cary Ginell’s Walk Tall: The Music & Life of Julian “Cannonball” Adderley

by

Quincy Jones

_____

I didn’t find Cannonball Adderley. Cannonball found me. It was 1955. I was living in a basement apartment at 55 West Ninety-second Street on the West Side, and one day he and Nat came by. They had just gotten into town from Florida and were looking for a label. Oscar Peterson gave Cannon my number.

I asked him, “Have you ever recorded before?” He said, “Yes,” and he gave me this record, a home acetate with a blue label on it. On one side was “Frankie & Johnny,” and on the other, I think, an original song or something like that. He pretended he had recorded before, but he hadn’t done anything but that one acetate. When I listened to it, that record knocked me on my ass. I remember saying to myself, “Damn, this cat’s the next Bird.” I had never heard anything like that before. He was groundbreaking, just like Clifford Brown was.

At that time I was working as an arranger and composer and A & R for EmArcy Records and Bobby Shad. Two years later, we made a deal with Philips to sign all of our jazz artists for $100,000 apiece. That was unheard-of back then. I signed Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey, Paul Qunichette, and Clark Terry, my idol and guru since I was twelve years old. But that came later. Cannon was the first.

After the Adderleys left, I called Bobby Shad and I said, “Bobby, this is the cat, man. You got to hear this guy. He’s the next Charlie Parker.” So, Bobby said, “I hear you, I hear you. I don’t need to hear him. If you think that much about this guy, I believe you. Now here’s what you do. Book the studio, get the engineer, get the musicians, and write the arrangements. I’ll see you at the studio on Tuesday.” We only had a few days to get the session together – not a whole lot of time. So we went with the flow. Together Cannon and I picked the songs and wrote some others. I remember Cannon and I wrote a song called “Fallen Feathers” that was dedicated to Charlie Parker. We got to the Capitol Studios on Forty-fourth Street and Bobby said, “Take 1.” That’s all he had to do because all the other stuff was done.

We became close friends. Closer than close. After he and his beautiful wife, Olga, moved to Bel Air, I was invited to his house with all of our friends, including Sidney Miller, every Sunday, relaxin’ and groovin’, tellin’ lies, drinkin’ and stinkin’.

Cannon had a mind sharp as a tack. He had studied with Professor William P. Foster, who was the band director down at Florida A & M. Foster was a brother but he didn’t even want his students to play boogie-woogie. He taught them music theory and how to read. Cannon was an old-school musician. Every musician from the old school had to read music perfectly. And if you came out of Florida A & M, you knew how to read music.

I remember how robust he always was, and what a beautiful, sparkling, original personality he had. He was smart as well as personable, which was a rare combination. You can tell when someone knows who they are and is happy with who they are. That was Cannon. He had that sense of humor, that congeniality, and that charisma, and knew how to reach out to people in the world. Cannon made everything a joy to receive. Nothing was ever a problem for him. Instead, it was a puzzle, because a puzzle you can always solve.

Nadia Boulanger used to tell me, when I was studying with her in Paris, “Quincy, music will never be more or less than what you are as a human being.” That’s really true. That’s where the music comes from. You can have all the technique and knowledge in the world, but if you haven’t lived and don’t have your own story to tell, you’ll have nothing to say musically. Music is a reflection of who the person is, and whatever “it” was, Cannonball had “it.”

Excellence is not an act, it’s a habit, and Cannonball Adderley made a habit of excellence. I will never forget him, and neither will my daughter Kidada, for he was her godfather. One of our proudest possessions is Cannon’s gold flute that he left her, which hangs on the wall behind my bar along with Dizzy’s original upright trumpet. As long as I live, Cannon will always be with us, and deep within our hearts.

*

From Walk Tall: The Music and Life of Julian Cannonball Adderley (c) 2013 by Cary Ginell, published by Hal Leonard Books, an imprint of Hal Leonard Corporation. Reprinted with permission.

cannonball

__________

 

Share this:

2 comments on “Remembering Cannonball Adderley — an appreciation by Quincy Jones”

  1. I had an old 78 with Cannonball and Nancy Wilson singing. I loved it a lot. And Quincy Jones. He’s helped so many people in the jazz world get started and never one derogatory word said about him. Fun to read about all of them: the jazz greats

  2. Indeed, ”Cannibal” Adderly was certainly one of those good old good ones as
    demonstrated by his work with Davis, Zawinul, Nat and others.

    For some unidentifiable reason, the critics seemed to have always viewed ”Cannibal”
    as the main guy , side lining Nat who in my opinion was numero Uno and his brother
    numero secondo. RIP both of them

Comment on this article:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

In this Issue

A Collection of Jazz Poetry – Spring, 2020 Edition There are many good and often powerful poems within this collection, one that has the potential for changing the shape of a reader’s universe during an impossibly trying time, particularly if the reader has a love of music. 33 poets from all over the globe contribute 47 poems. Expect to read of love, loss, memoir, worship, freedom, heartbreak and hope – all collected here, in the heart of this unsettling spring. (Featuring the art of Martel Chapman)

Interview

photo by Fred Price
Bob Hecht and Grover Sales host a previously unpublished 1985 interview with the late, great jazz saxophonist Lee Konitz, who talks about Miles, Kenton, Ornette, Tristano, and the art of improvisation...

Features

Red Meditation by James Brewer
Creative artists and citizens of note respond to the question, "During this time of social distancing and isolation at home, what are examples of the music you are listening to, the books you are reading, and/or the television or films you are viewing?”

Book Excerpt

In the introduction to Dave Brubeck: A Life in Time – the author Philip Clark writes about the origins of the book, and his interest in shining a light on how Brubeck, “thoughtful and sensitive as he was, had been changed as a musician and as a man by the troubled times through which he lived and during which he produced such optimistic, life-enhancing art.”

Interview

NBC Radio-photo by Ray Lee Jackson / Public domain
In a Jerry Jazz Musician interview, acclaimed biographer James Kaplan (Frank: The Voice and Sinatra: The Chairman) talks about his book, Irving Berlin: New York Genius, and Berlin's unparalleled musical career and business success, his intense sense of family and patriotism during a complex and evolving time, and the artist's permanent cultural significance.

Book Excerpt

In the introduction to Maria Golia’s Ornette Coleman: The Territory and the Adventure – excerpted here in its entirety – the author takes the reader through the four phases of the brilliant musician’s career her book focuses on.

Art

Art by Charles Ingham
Charles Ingham’s “Jazz Narratives” connect time, place, and subject in a way that ultimately allows the viewer a unique way of experiencing jazz history. Volume 7 of the narratives are “Torn from Its Moorings", "Watching the Sea" and "Plantations" (featuring west coast stories of Ornette Coleman and Billie Holiday)

Interview

Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Carl Van Vechten Collection
Richard Crawford’s Summertime: George Gershwin’s Life in Music is a rich, detailed and rewarding musical biography that describes Gershwin's work throughout every stage of his career. In a Jerry Jazz Musician interview, Crawford discusses his book and the man he has described as a “fresh voice of the Jazz Age” who “challenged Americans to rethink their assumptions about composition and performance, nationalism, cultural hierarchy, and the racial divide.”

Jazz History Quiz #138

photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
Shortly following their famed 1938 Carnegie Hall performance, Benny Goodman’s drummer Gene Krupa left the band to start his own. Who replaced Krupa?

Interview

photo unattributed/ Public domain
In a Jerry Jazz Musician interview with The Letters of Cole Porter co-author Dominic McHugh, he explains that “several of the big biographical tropes that we associate with Porter are either modified or contested by the letters,” and that “when you put together these letters, and add our quite extensive commentary between the letters, it creates a different picture of him.” Mr. McHugh discusses his book, and what the letters reveal about the life – in-and-out of music – of Cole Porter.

Book Excerpt

The introduction to John Burnside's The Music of Time: Poetry in the Twentieth Century – excerpted here in its entirety with the gracious consent of Princeton University Press – is the author's fascinating observation concerning the idea of how poets respond to what the Russian poet Osip Mandelstam called “the noise of time,” weaving it into a kind of music.

Short Fiction

photo Creative Commons CC0
Short Fiction Contest-winning story #53 — “Market & Fifth, San Francisco, 1986,” by Paul Perilli

Photography

photo by Veryl Oakland
In this edition of photographs and stories from Veryl Oakland’s book Jazz in Available Light, Frank Morgan, Michel Petrucciani/Charles Lloyd, and Emily Remler are featured

Poetry

photo Bret Stewart/Wikimedia Commons
“Afterwards — For the Spring, 2020” — a poem by Alan Yount

Book Excerpt

A ten page excerpt from The Letters of Cole Porter by Cliff Eisen and Dominic McHugh that features correspondence in the time frame of June to August, 1953, including those Porter had with George Byron (the man who married Jerome Kern’s widow), fellow writer Abe Burrows, Noel Coward, his secretary Madeline P. Smith, close friend Sam Stark, and his lawyer John Wharton.

Interview

photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
Con Chapman, author of Rabbit's Blues: The Life and Music of Johnny Hodges discusses the great Ellington saxophonist

Humor

photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
"Louis Armstrong on the Moon," by Dig Wayne

Book Excerpt

This story, excerpted from Irving Berlin: New York Genius by James Kaplan, describes how Berlin came to write his first major hit song, “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” and speaks to its historic musical and cultural significance.

Pressed for All Time

In this edition, producer Tom Dowd talks with Pressed for All Time: Producing the Great Jazz Albums author Michael Jarrett about the genesis of Herbie Mann’s 1969 recording, Memphis Underground, and the executives and musicians involved

Interview

photo by Bouna Ndaiye
Interview with Gerald Horne, author of Jazz and Justice: Racism and the Political Economy of the Music

Great Encounters

photo of Sidney Bechet by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
In this edition of "Great Encounters," Con Chapman, author of Rabbit’s Blues: The Life and Music of Johnny Hodges, writes about Hodges’ early musical training, and the first meeting he had with Sidney Bechet, the influential and legendary reed player who Hodges called “tops in my book.”

Poetry

The winter collection of poetry offers readers a look at the culture of jazz music through the imaginative writings of its 32 contributors. Within these 41 poems, writers express their deep connection to the music – and those who play it – in their own inventive and often philosophical language that communicates much, but especially love, sentiment, struggle, loss, and joy.

“What are 4 or 5 of your all-time favorite Blue Note albums?”

"What are 4 or 5 of your all-time favorite Blue Note albums?"
Dianne Reeves, Nate Chinen, Gary Giddins, Michael Cuscuna, Eliane Elias and Ashley Kahn are among the 12 writers, musicians, and music executives who list and write about their favorite Blue Note albums

In the Previous Issue

Interviews with three outstanding, acclaimed writers and scholars who discuss their books on Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, and Cole Porter, and their subjects’ lives in and out of music. These interviews – which each include photos and several full-length songs – provide readers easy access to an entertaining and enlightening learning experience about these three giants of American popular music.

In an Earlier Issue

photo by Carol Friedman
“The Jazz Photography Issue” features an interview with today’s most eminent jazz portrait photographer Carol Friedman, news from Michael Cuscuna about newly released Francis Wolff photos, as well as archived interviews with William Gottlieb, Herman Leonard, Lee Tanner, a piece on Milt Hinton, a new edition of photos from Veryl Oakland, and much more…

Contributing writers

Site Archive