Julian Edwin "Cannonball" Adderley (September 15, 1928 – August 8, 1975) was a jazz alto saxophonist of the hard-bop era of the 1950s and 1960s. Originally from Tampa, Florida, he moved to New York in the mid 1950s. His nickname derived originally from "cannibal," an honorific title imposed on him by high school colleagues as a tribute to his vast eating capacity.
He was the brother of jazz cornetist Nat Adderley.
The Cannonball Adderley Quintet featured Cannonball on alto sax and his brother Nat Adderley on cornet. Adderley's first quintet was not very successful; however, after leaving Davis' group, he formed another, again with his brother, which enjoyed more success.
The new quintet (which later became the Cannonball Adderley Sextet), and Cannonball's other combos and groups, included such noted musicians as:
* pianists Bobby Timmons, Victor Feldman, Joe Zawinul, Hal Galper, Michael Wolff, George Duke, Wynton Kelly, Bill Evans
* bassists Ray Brown, Sam Jones, Walter Booker, Victor Gaskin
* drummers Louis Hayes, Roy McCurdy
* saxophonists Charles Lloyd, Yusef Lateef.
The sextet was noteworthy towards the end of the 1960s for achieving crossover success with pop audiences, but doing it without making artistic concessions.
By the end of 1960s, Adderley's playing began to reflect the influence of the electric jazz avant-garde, and Miles Davis' experiments on the album Bitches Brew. On his albums from this period, such as Accent on Africa (1968) and The Price You Got to Pay to Be Free (1970), he began doubling on soprano saxophone, showing the influence of John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter. In that same year, his quintet appeared at the Monterey Jazz Festival in California, and a brief scene of that performance was featured in the 1971 psychological thriller Play Misty for Me, starring Clint Eastwood. In 1975 he also appeared (in an acting role alongside Jose Feliciano and David Carradine) in the episode "Battle Hymn" in the third season of the TV series Kung Fu.
Joe Zawinul's composition "Cannon Ball" (recorded on Weather Report's album Black Market) is a tribute to his former leader.
Songs made famous by Adderley and his bands include "This Here" (written by Bobby Timmons), "The Jive Samba," "Work Song" (written by Nat Adderley), "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" (written by Joe Zawinul) and "Walk Tall" (written by Zawinul, Marrow and Rein). A cover version of Pops Staples' "Why (Am I Treated So Bad)?" also entered the charts.
Adderley was initiated as an honorary member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America Incorporated (Gamma Theta, University of North Texas, '60, & Xi Omega, Frostburg State University, '70), the largest and oldest music fraternity in America and Alpha Phi Alpha, the oldest existing intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African Americans (made Beta Nu chapter, Florida A&M University).
Adderley died of a stroke in 1975. He was buried in the Southside Cemetery, Tallahassee, Florida. Later that year he was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame.