by Sandra Brennan
One of Nashvilles premier session men from the late 50s through the early 70s, alto saxophonist Ace Cannon began playing at the age of ten and signed with Sun Records during the early days of rock & roll. He performed with Billy Lee Riley and Brad Suggs but then in 1959 joined the original Bill Black Combo, recording for the Hi label. He stayed with the band until 1961, when he made his solo chart debut with the instrumental Tuff, which made it to the country Top 20. This in turn was followed by a Top 40 hit, Blues (Stay Away From Me), and a minor hit for the Santos label, Sugar Blues. He had two more hits in the mid-60s with Cotton Fields and Searchin, both recorded for Hi. A decade later, he became the subject of the 1974 ary film, Aces High. After moving to Nashville in the mid-70s, Cannons version of Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain became a minor hit and was nominated for the Best Country Instrumental Performance Grammy that year. Cannon continued to perform into the 90s and frequently toured with such legends of early rock & roll as Carl Perkins.