Julian Cannonball Adderley was born in 1928 in Florida, moving to New York and emphatically into the big league in 1955. Basically a Charlie Parker disciple, the altoist had plenty of bite and a rhythmic directness that became more pronounced in his later work. The meeting with Miles Davis Somethin' Else proved something of a comeuppance, for the trumpeter was playing with such concision that Cannonball sounded positively garrulous. His work in the Miles Davis Group from 1957 Milestones, Kind of Blue was interesting for the strides he made. Learning how to use space, understatement and substitute chord. Chords and notes were a very much preoccupation in that band, with Miles and Coltrane both stretching to escape the conventional harmony. Cannonball's arranger Gil Evans resulted in a masterly album, Pacific Standard Time, which Deployed the altoist's legato style in orchestrations which reinterpreted jazz classics Manteca, Midnight, King Porter Stomp.
Adderley's contract with Riverside paired him with guitarist Wes Montgomery, pianist Bill Evans and a host of other musicians, but the big breakthrough came with his formation of a quintet. The first album, Them Dirty Blues, in which he shared the front-line with his cornetist/trumpeter brother Nat, sold more than the rest of the output combined. While neither of the Adderley brothers were particularly original, their music, by its heavy emphasis on the roots, helped to popularize jazz at a time when radical upheavals-atonality, polyrhythmic, complexity, tonal expressionism- were clearing the halls. Happy music, and none the worse for that, Cannonball's death (of stroke, on August 8, 1975) hit jazz hard, for he was a kindly man, always ready to promote young talent-for example Wes Montgomery.