© 2024 WFSU Public Media
WFSU News · Tallahassee · Panama City · Thomasville
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Tallahassee's Word of South Festival includes tribute to the Adderley family

Two women sit on a stage in front of microphones.
Tom Flanigan
WFSU Public Media
Celebrated authors, such as Cynthia Barnett (on right) read from and discussed their works during the festival. FSU English Professor Diane Roberts appeared with Barnett Sunday afternoon.

The return of the Word of South Festival filled Tallahassee's Cascades Park with happy people throughout the weekend. The celebration of literature and music included a tribute to the city's "First Family of Jazz."
Authors, such as Florida's own Cynthia Barnett read from her latest book, "The Sound of the Sea."

"Seashells have often been messages to scientists, to diviners, to worshippers called together by the voice of the shell," she read from the book's closing chapter in the course of her on-stage conversation with FSU English professor Diane Roberts.

Publishers, like Overflow Press owner T.C. Floyd were showing off their books.

"Today, we have our 'Bully Brigade' series. Which is about 6 best friends who work together to stop issues of bullying in their school," she said, indicating a number of colorful volumes at her booth's display table.

There were the continuous musical performances from groups like Doublecamp.

And then there was an actual musical legend; jazz drummer Roy McCurdy who played with Tallahassee's Cannonball and Nat Adderly from 1965 until 1975. And at the age of 85 is still a musical force of nature.

"Just to bring some good music here. Bring some great jazz with some great musicians and showcase that," he said, obviously enthusiastic about settling behind the drum kit that was set up on a small stage inside the Mariottt Hotel's ballroom.

McCurdy recalled what a thrill it was to have been invited to join what was then among the most innovative jazz ensembles in the county. "It was amazing! I'd heard them playing out there with a lot of different people. So when Cannon(ball) called to play with then, I was very happy about it. Louis Hayes was leaving the band to go with Oscar Petersen. And I had known Cannon for awhile before he'd called me to play. It was great and an honor to be with that band!"

Sunday afternoon, McCurdy joined a Word of South jam with Nat Adderley, Jr., Longineau Parsons, Scotty Barnhart and many more jazz superstars. Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey later presented the surviving Adderley family members with a key to the city.

Follow @flanigan_tom

Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

Find complete bio, contact info, and more stories. here.