Music Department Alumni

Julian “Cannonball” Adderley & Nat Adderley

  • Julian "Cannonball" and Nat Adderley were two brothers that became prominent jazz and blues musicians of the twentieth century. Playing alto saxophone and cornet respectively, they both had significant success playing in their own band as well as with major jazz musicians such as Miles Davis and John Coltrane.

    While living in Tallahassee in the 1940s, they played with Ray Charles who also lived in the area at the time.

  • Born in Tampa in 1928, Julian “Cannonball” Adderley picked up the alto saxophone. Moving to Tallahassee with his parents during his high school years, Cannonball eventually attended Florida A&M University in Tallahassee to study band education. Graduating in 1948, he then worked as a band director in the Fort Lauderdale school district.

  • Nat Adderley, the younger of the brothers, began as a trumpet player, an instrument passed down by his father. Born in Tampa in 1931, he moved to Tallahassee with his family while still in grade school. Later, he also attended Florida A&M University, initially focusing his studies in the field of sociology with a minor in music. Towards the end of his college career, he changed his instrumental focus to the cornet and never looked back.

Internationally Renowned Musicians

  • Scotty Barnhart

    Scotty Barnhart is an internationally acclaimed Jazz trumpeter, composer, arranger, educator, author, and is the Director of The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra. A featured trumpet soloist with the orchestra for over 20 years, he is a two-time Grammy Award winner, appearing on three critically acclaimed recordings with pianist Marcus Roberts, and over 15 others with artists as diverse as Tony Bennett, Diana Krall, Ray Charles, and Tito Puente. Acknowledged as an authority on the history of Jazz trumpet, he has given two keynote lecture-demonstrations at The International Trumpet Guild Conference and continues to give lectures and seminars at universities in South America, Japan, China, Europe, South Africa, and all across the United States. Hal Leonard published his groundbreaking book, "The World of Jazz Trumpet – A Comprehensive History and Practical Philosophy" worldwide in December 2005 to rave reviews. 
  • Wycliffe Gordon

    Wycliffe Gordon experiences an impressive career touring the world performing to great acclaim from audiences and critics alike. Jazz Journalists Association named him the 2020 “Trombonist of the Year” for the record breaking 13th time, and he’s topped Downbeat Critics Poll for “Best Trombone” again for an unprecedented six times (2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2013 & 2012). Last year he was the recipient of the “Louie Award,” the International Trombone Award, and the Satchmo Award among others. Wycliffe is a prolific recording artist and is extremely popular for his unmatched signature sound, plunger technique, and unique vocals. He can be heard on hundreds of recordings, soundtracks, live DVDs, and documentaries.
  • Ron McCurdy

    Ron McCurdy is a professor of music at the University of Southern California. He received his bachelor's degree from Florida A&M University in 1976. His specialties are jazz and trumpet.
  • Kendra Foster

    The first FAMU Jazz Studies Graduate Grammy Award Winner Kendra Foster has circled the globe with George Clinton & P-Funk Allstars and D’Angelo & The Vanguard. She has made a few pit stops along the way, which included scooping up two Grammys for her work on D’Angelo’s "Black Messiah" and writing and recording a solo album infused with her heart, thoughts and musical ministry.
  • BK Jackson

    Bernard “BK” Jackson is an international-performing saxophonist, electrifying audiences across the globe with his unique playing style, energetic stage presence, and unparalleled passion for music that touches the soul. A native of Tampa, FL, he has worked with industry giants such as Prince, Trombone Shorty, B.B King, Brian McKnight, Bruno Mars, Hunter Hayes, Chaka Khan, Fantasia, Juvenile, Mannie Fresh, Zac Brown Band, and more.

Other FAMU Music Department Alumni

  • Vincent Gardner
  • Longineu Parsons
  • Ray Nelson
  • Nico Current
  • Aaron Watson
  • Avion Wright
  • LeRoy Lubin
  • Brandon Cunningham
  • Nico Current
  • Dominic Green
  • Erika Johnson
  • Kimani Jackson

Contact Us

Department of Music
Florida A&M University
206 Foster-Tanner Music Bldg.
Tallahassee, FL 32307-4400
(850) 599-3024
(850) 561-2176