Saturday, August 30, 2014
Happy Labor Day Weekend to all those reading this in the U.S. I've made some progress trying to get The Master and Ephemera reissued. The main imperative for reissuing The Master is to release four unissued tracks. Pepper's Ephemera, for its part, has never been issued on CD! Motema is considering the former and I'm in touch with Tony Williams, owner of Spotlite, about the latter. I'll report back when I learn more. The photos below are from my Pepper Adams archive. They're part of a stack of some 50 photos that were given to Pepper so he could choose an album cover photo. They were taken in London in September 1973.
Saturday, August 23, 2014
I've spent the last week putting together a very cool gallery of 112 pictures from a wide range of sources. It includes photographs of Pepper Adams and his family, ads for gigs and all sorts of things. Lots of surprises from my collection. Please check it out: instagram.com/pepperadamsblog
Feel free to tap any photo, then like it or comment.
Saturday, August 16, 2014
I'm finally getting a chance to listen closely to the recording Something Old, New and Blue, originally recorded by Solid State in late April, 1968. It was billed as "Joe Williams and the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra but the big band per se is not on it. In fact, the largest instrumentation on any one of the eleven tunes is 11 pieces, and that includes guitar and vibes, not part of the touring band at that time. The date was recorded in Los Angeles and supplemented with a string section. It's not known who did the string arrangements, possibly added after the session was recorded but beautifully integrated into the band arrangement.
The Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra was in San Francisco on 22 April 1968 to do a TV broadcast at KQED Studios for Ralph J. Gleason's show Jazz Casual. This 30-minute episode has been released on DVD (Idem 1014) and on CD (Koch 8563). The personnel touring the West Coast at that time was:
Thad Jones cornet, flh; Snooky Young, Danny Moore, Richard Williams, Randy Brecker tp; Bob Brookmeyer vtb; Jimmy Knepper, Garnett Brown tb; Benny Powell btb; Jerome Richardson as, ss, cl, fl; Jerry Dodgion as, ss, fl; Seldon Powell ts; Eddie Daniels ts, cl, fl; Pepper Adams bs, cl; Roland Hanna p; Richard Davis b; Mel Lewis dm.
The Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra had a week-long engagement at Marty's in Hollywood beginning that evening, stretching from the 22nd to the 27th. I believe Jerry Dodgion told me that the band didn't get paid for that week gig. Pepper, for his part, had a gig in Richmond, Virginia with the Duke Pearson Big Band on 28 April, then he was back in his chair behind the pole at the Village Vanguard on Monday night, 29 April.
It seems likely that Thad would draw players from his band for the Joe Williams session. Why use unknown entities? Frank Basile feels that Mel Lewis is on the date and that Jerome Richardson and Eddie Daniels might take solos. If Pepper's on any tunes, says Basile, he's only on three cuts: One More for My Baby, Everybody Loves My Baby and When I Take My Sugar to Tea. Here's my feedback after listening to these short performances, possibly intended for juke box, 45-rpm release:
1. Young Man on the Way Up: According to David Demsey, Thad wrote this chart and it sounds like it. It also sounds like Mel Lewis is playing drums.
2. Hurry on Down: Obbligato flugelhorn playing behind the opening vocals could be Thad Jones. Piano playing could be Roland Hanna.
3. When I Take My Sugar to Tea: Sounds like a Thad chart. Freddie Green style rhythm guitar playing. The short trumpet solo spots sound like Snooky Young.
4. Honeysuckle Rose: Organ in place of piano. Does anyone know of Roland Hanna playing the instrument? Hank Jones and Wynton Kelly recorded on it so why not? The organ break is very non-descript.
5. Did I Really Live: Opening flugelhorn playing could be Thad Jones. The chart sounds like Thad had a part in it and farmed out the strings to fill in afterwards, which have in this case a "Bird with String" lush romanticism. The long bass notes sound like Richard Davis.
6. Loneliness, Sorrow and Grief: This also sounds like a Thad chart. The piano solo break is non-descript. Very brief tenor playing and muted trumpet in background.
7. Imagination: Guitar and organ. Organ lines could be Roland Hanna. Flugelhorn obbligato might be Thad. Tenor solo behind vocals sound like Eddie Daniels' lacy style, and the guitar chords (behind vocals in a duet setting) sound like it could be Kenny Burrell here. Some of the band figures sound like Thad's writing.
8. One More for My Baby: Vibes added. Terry Gibbs was in LA then, right? Who else would Thad hire? Guitar might be Burrell, who I believe was living there by then too. Guitar is given prominence in this chart, further supporting someone like Burrell in the band. The chart definitely sounds like Thad's. It also sounds like Jerome Richardson on lead alto and on the alto breaks. Piano arpeggios sound like Roland Hanna.
9. Everyone Wants to Be Loved: Organ added in place of piano. This sounds like a Thad chart.
10. Everybody Loves My Baby: The most obvious Thad chart from the opening and throughout. Vibes and guitar added. Prominent use of guitar in the chart.
11. If I Were a Bell: This also sounds like a Thad chart.
Final comments: Joe Williams is terrific throughout and there's some swinging tunes and beautiful moments. I recommend picking this one up. A real obscure gem! I'm revising my discographical entry from Pepper Adams' Joy Road thusly:
JOE WILLIAMS AND THAD JONES - SOMETHING OLD, NEW AND BLUE
23-27 April 1968, Los Angeles: possible personnel: Thad Jones flh; Snooky Young tp, flh; Garnett Brown, Jimmy Knepper or Benny Powell tb; Jerome Richardson as; Eddie Daniels ts; Pepper Adams bs; Roland Hanna p, org; Kenny Burrell g; Terry Gibbs vib; Richard Davis b; Mel Lewis dm; Joe Williams voc; string section.
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Michael Steinman gave me a terrific review in his influential blog Jazz Lives (http://jazzlives.wordpress.com/author/jazzlives/, see below). At the end of his August 5, 2014 post he tantalized me with the discovery of an audience recording he made on July 19, 1972 at the Half Note in New York. Ruby Braff was leading a quartet with Dill Jones, George Mraz and Dottie Dodgion. Toward the end of the evening Pepper sat in on a blues. It's not known why Pepper traveled in from Brooklyn on a Wednesday.
PEPPER ADAMS’ JOY ROAD: AN ANNOTATED DISCOGRAPHY by GARY CARNER
Saturday, August 2, 2014
© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.
I'm excited to report that jazz researcher James Harrod has discovered the actual recording dates of the James Dean Story and Critics' Choice, Pepper Adams' second date as leader. Harrod confirmed the new information by obtaining copies of AFM contracts. It turns out Pepper did three separate August, 1957 dates for Pacific Jazz, all done at Radio Recorders in Hollywood. On August 13, from 2:00 to 6:30 p.m., Bud Shank led the first James Dean Story session with the following personnel: Charlie Mariano, Herbie Steward as; Bill Holman, Richie Kamuca ts; Pepper Adams bs; Claude Williamson p; Monty Budwig b; Mel Lewis dm; Mike Pacheco bongos; FEATURED SOLOISTS: Chet Baker tp, voc; Bud Shank as, fl.
On August 14, at almost the same time, Bud Shank was again noted as leader for a follow-up date. Its personnel was the same, but augmented with three additional brass: Ray Linn, Don Fagerquist tp: Milton Bernhart tb.
For both Shank sessions there's no listing in the AFM logs of what titles were recorded on either date. If anyone has the recording and can help me identify what tunes have the added brass, please comment below. That will help me make corrections that I'll post at pepperadams.com.
With respect to Critics Choice, Harrod wrote the following in his blog:
"Pepper Adams' other appearance on Pacific Jazz was as leader for his album, CRITIC'S CHOICE, PJM-407. Both Jepsen and Bruyninckx list the correct date of this recording session for Dick Bock, August 23, 1957. The session was at Radio Recorders from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m."
Regarding Bill Holman and Johnny Mandel's participation, Harrod emailed me this:
"The contracts just list the musicians. Holman might have retained the charts that he arranged. I believe that he has placed most of his archive with the LOC. He received arranger credit on the 14th only. Mandel is not listed as arranger on the 13th. He might have had a direct agreement with Dick Bock for his services. The back liner of P-2005 notes that Mandel arranged The Search, Jimmy's Theme, and Success; with Holman arranging the other selections. Mandel might have retained his charts as well."
Harrod also told me that Chet Baker was listed as co-leader merely as a marketing strategy to boost sales. Also, Johnny Mandel likely functioned as a conductor at both sessions.
You can read all about it at Harrod's blog Jazz West Coast Research: http://jazzwestcoastresearch.blogspot.com/2014/07/bud-shank-chet-baker-theme-music-from.html
Saturday, July 26, 2014
I'm happy to report that Glenn Wilson at the University of Illinois is currently working with engineer Paul Wickliffe to reinstate a few solos, edit one extra track (Doctor Deep) and master the big band date recorded last year of Adams' tunes. Once this is complete and the tunes are reordered, UI will be shopping it around to labels, now that Motema has suspended their Pepper Adams series. I'll update you as I learn more. As a fall-back plan, UI has their own label and can release it that way. Again, to all of you who contributed to the 2013 Kickstarter campaign, thanks so much for your support and patience.
In case you were worried, Motema's five-volume digital set of Pepper's music and their physical Volume 5 CD (Alexis Cole Sings Pepper Adams) and Sampler (of the other four dates) are still in print and available. It's just that they will not continue building the series with new volumes.
A few other things are going on. Yesterday (Friday, July 25, 2014) Steve Cerra reprinted his lengthy profile of Pepper Adams in his important blog Jazz Profiles. His piece includes a transcript of Ben Sidran's marvelous 1986 interview with Pepper for NPR. You can listen to the interview at pepperadams.com. Along with the Pepper profile, Cerra also was very kind to reprint Dan Morgenstern's foreword and my preface to Pepper Adams' Joy Road. I'm very grateful to Steve for all the support he's given me and I look forward to his forthcoming review/interview.
Also forthcoming, Bert Vuijsje in The Netherlands will be reviewing my Pepper book in either Dutch or Flemish. Michael Steinman has also agreed to review it on his blog Jazz Lives.
I'm excited that in the next month or so the Greenville Jazz Collective Big Band, led by trombonist Brad Jepson, will be performing some Pepper charts I've commissioned. That's worth the three-hour roundtrip drive from Georgia! Also, Aaron Lington's big band chart on Pepper's sumptuous ballad Now in Our Lives has been completed and he's looking to get it recorded so it can be posted at pepperadams.com. Any takers?
Lastly, I've been invited to contribute a piece on Pepper Adams and Detroit for a collection of pieces on Detroit's musical history. It's being assembled by ML Liebler for Wayne State University Press, Pepper's alma mater.
Saturday, July 19, 2014
Thanks to drummer Espun Rud, who located his 1979 appointment book, I now have definitive information on Pepper Adams' 1979 tour of Norway with pianist Per Husby. Thanks too to Husby for forwarding me the data. Gaps below indicate venues that still remain unknown. It's also not known if the gigs of 23-24 March were done at the same place. A photo of the band is linked from the Chronology at pepperadams.com and can be seen at pepperadams.com's Photos section.
Mar 12: Queens NY: Adams flies to Norway by way of Stockholm.
Mar 13: Stavanger, Norway: Per Husby gig at __________with Bjorn Alterhaug and Espen Rud.
Mar 14: Stord, Norway: Per Husby gig at the Jazzforum, with Bjorn Alterhaug and Espen Rud.
Mar 15: Bergen, Norway: Per Husby gig, with Bjorn Alterhaug and Espen Rud.
Mar 16-18: Voss, Norway: Per Husby gig at the Voss Jazz Festival, with Atle Hammer, Bjorn Alterhaug and Espen Rud.
Mar 19: Gjovik, Norway: Per Husby gig at Torvetten, with Bjorn Alterhaug and Espen Rud.
Mar 20: Lillehammer, Norway: Per Husby gig at the Blue Note, with Bjorn Alterhaug and Espen Rud.
Mar 21: Oslo: Per Husby gig at Club 7, with Atle Hammer, Bjorn Alterhaug and Espen Rud.
Mar 22: Bodo: Per Husby gig at ____________, with Bjorn Alterhaug and Espen Rud.
Mar 23: Tromso: Per Husby gig at ____________, with Bjorn Alterhaug and Espen Rud.
Mar 24: Tromso: Per Husby gig at ____________, with Bjorn Alterhaug and Espen Rud.
Mar 25: Trondheim, Norway: Per Husby gig at the Trubadur, with Bjorn Alterhaug and Espen Rud.
Mar 26: Trondheim: Off day.
Mar 27: Kristiansund, Norway: Per Husby gig at _________, with Bjorn Alterhaug and Espen Rud.
Mar 28: Molde, Norway: Per Husby gig at Storyville, with Bjorn Alterhaug and Espen Rud.
Mar 29: Orsta: Per Husby gig at Porse Jazzklubb, with Bjorn Alterhaug and Espen Rud. (Photo from Orsta)
Mar 30: Bergen, Norway: Travel day. Adams flies to Stockholm.
Mar 31: Stockholm: Unknown event or off day.