FAMU Hosts Concert to Celebrate Unveiling of Julian “Cannonball” and Nat Adderley Music Institute

April 11, 2024
Jazz Ensemble Concert Flyer
FAMU Hosts Concert to Celebrate Unveiling of Julian “Cannonball” and Nat Adderley Music Institute

Florida A&M University’s Lee Hall Auditorium will come alive on the evening of Thursday, April 18 with the sounds trumpets and saxophones in celebration of an academic program honoring two alumni and musical giants, Julian “Cannonball” and Nat Adderley.

The FAMU Jazz Ensemble Concert will begin at 7:30. p.m. It is being held in honor of the unveiling of the Julian “Cannonball” and Nat Adderley Music Institute marker to commemorate the renaming of the University’s music industry program.

In his invitation to members of the Adderley family, FAMU President Larry Robinson said, “I am excited to invite you all to join us for this beautiful celebration. Let’s make this a joyous celebration and fill Lee Hall Auditorium to capacity for an outstanding evening of music.”

On December 7, 2023, the FAMU Board of Trustees approved the new name, marking the first time FAMU has named an academic program for specific individuals.

The goal is to elevate the FAMU program to its true status of international recognition as a training place for future generations of musicians, executives, managers, publishers, agents, recording engineers, producers, artists, songwriters, and impresarios. The mission of the Julian “Cannonball” and Nat Adderley Music Institute is to propel the Institute upward to the highest echelons of Music Business programs – a level befitting the legacy of these celebrated musicians from FAMU.

“It’s significant that it’s the first. It probably won’t be the last,” Robinson said at the time. “We set a high bar by naming it after the Adderleys. They have been so impactful in music not just here, but wherever they have gone around the world.”

Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderly, John Coltrane. Our man in the middle. This iconic picture shows it all. The birth of the modern era in music.

The Adderley brothers moved to Tallahassee in the 1940s when their parents took jobs at the University.  The Adderley brothers attended FAMU’s high school before entering the University, where Cannonball studied band education, and Nat sociology, with a minor in music. During the 1940s, the Adderley brothers were members of the Marching “100” Band.  Cannonball graduated from FAMU in 1948 and Nat graduated in 1951.

Not every post-bop hero from the ‘50s could adapt to ‘70s fusion, but Cannonball Adderley did. His understanding of the blues and his ability to unfurl liquid lines of melody made him invaluable in both eras, Institute Director Darryl Tookes wrote in his proposal.

“With his trumpeter/composer brother Nat, the Adderley brothers’ contribution to music of the modern era is unsurpassed. From their interpretation of the Great American Songbook, Jazz standards, Showtunes from the Golden Age of Broadway, to their irresistible pop/R&B Grammy Award winning smash hit “Mercy Mercy,” the Adderley name is synonymous with musical excellence, and social progress.”