Charles “Yardbird” Parker died on March 12, 1955 at the age of 34. Coincident with that significant event was the fairy-tale New York debut of 26-year-old Julian “Cannonball” Adderley at the Café Bohemia on June 19, 1955. That event landed Cannonball a record contract, as well as the title of the “New Bird.”
He recorded his first album on June 28, 1955 – exactly 50 years prior to the date of this recording. The last full studio recording that Cannonball did was called Phenix, recorded in February by Orrin Keepnews at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, California.
That project dug into Cannon’s Great American Songbook – tapping into a monumental 20-year career, which transformed twelve of his favorite and most popular tunes.
Sadly, that would be Cannon’s last full studio album as he suffered a stroke on July 13, 1975 and was hospitalized at St. Mary Mercy Hospital in Gary, Indiana. He never would recover and, after almost a month in the hospital, he passed away on August 8, 1975 at 46 from a stroke.
Here is where a tremendous amount of symbolism creeps into this project. I always planned on recording an album dedicated to Cannon but never found a reason to do it – until now…