CANNONBALL ADDERLEY

Cannonball Adderley was one of my favorite jazz alto saxophone players. He had a very strong influence on my playing. As a teenager, I saw him perform at Birdland with Miles Davis and John Coltrane playing classic tunes from the "Milestones" album. We invited Cannonball to sit in with BS&T at our concert at the Greek Theater in L.A. The afternoon of the gig, around sound check time, I met him backstage. When I went over to shake his hand he just waved me off and gave me a big hug instead! That night, using a borrowed alto saxophone from a local music store (because his horn was broken), Cannonball took a solo on the 4-chord vamp ending of “Lucretia MacEvil” (E7(#9) A7(sus4) / F#13 B7(#9)). He played great! After the show, as I was packing up my horn, he came over to me and said something like, “You can really play. I couldn’t tell from the records.” I didn’t really know what he meant by that remark, but I took it as a compliment! During my early years at Berklee College of Music, one of the courses I taught was the Cannonball Adderley Ensemble. My students played a number of tunes that Cannonball and his brother, Nat, recorded. I transcribed the tunes off records and charted them for my students.