Cannonball Adderley is one of Jazz’s most celebrated performers. The alto saxophone player was a sensation when performing in the Miles Davies Band, and was known for some blistering playing. However, it was one of those strange quirks of fate that launched Adderley’s career.
Originally, Julian Edwin Adderley worked as a teacher in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He taught at Dillard High School, and it was there that Adderley first picked up a nickname, although not exactly the one he’d adopt in his music career. Because of his ability to eat lots of food, and eat it quickly, other school staff members named him “Cannibal.” This changed as the speed of his alto sax playing came to light, and “Cannonball” seemed more apt.