Saturday, July 19, 2014
Saturday, July 12, 2014
Saturday, July 5, 2014
Happy Independence Day everyone! Yesterday, on the Fourth of July, I conducted a groundbreaking interview with Al Gould, the author of Boots on the Ground with Music in My Hands. I wrote about his book in last week's post and first on May 24 but I finally had the good fortune of speaking with him. Gould's insights into that time are extraordinary! As luck would have it, Gould was in the same traveling platoon (Platoon #2) as Pepper and much new information about that period was discovered in our one hour conversation. First, here's a link to Gould's memoir:
Gould wrote a very good overview of the history of the 10th Special Service Company, not fully included in his book, that I'll post here:
"The original concept of establishing highly trained entertainers for completely mobile shows under very adverse conditions was the idea of Captain Josh Logan, who had served in Germany during World War II. The 10th Special Service Company was started in Guam in 1944 and Josh was joined a year later by a Department of the Army Civilian (DAC), Margaret "Skippy" Lynn. Both had excellent backgrounds in the entertainment field. Logan went on to write and direct the Broadway musicals Annie Get Your Gun, South Pacific, Fanny and others, working with Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein. Lynn, a dancer and Dance Captain with the Radio City Rockettes in New York, appeared on Broadway in the musicals Oklahoma, Carousel and as the ingenue lead with Ethel Merman in Something for the Boys.
The headquarters of the 10th Special Service Company moved from Guam to Hawaii, then Japan and, finally, in April 1951, to Korea. Because of extremely difficult combat conditions, travel by civilian entertainers in Korea was limited. On the other hand, fine entertainment was eagerly sought by troops as an essential morale booster. These two factors combined to generate the development of touring soldiers of superior quality. In order to do the job, these traveling units needed to be self-contained and capable of performing under the most adverse circumstances while maintaining professional stage presence and soldierly conduct.
When a member of one of the top dance bands of the day (Tommy Dorsey, Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, etc) during the Korean War was drafted or enlisted, he would end up with the 10th Special. This also included celebrity singers, such as Eddie Fisher, comedians, and specialty entertainers.
The 10th Special Service Company had four platoons. Three were show platoons on the road, plus a Headquarters Platoon. The three show platoons each had about thirty members. The shows were trained in Japan and entered Korea at different times. I was a member of the 2nd Platoon. The 2nd entered Korea in October 1951 and was called "Take 10." It became the "Road to Ruin" Show in October 1952, which I became a part of in early January 1953.
The 10th was deactivated in July 1955. Skippy Lynn remained a DAC until 1978, continuing shows that were called Army Showmobile Units. They serviced the Berlin and Cuban crises, plus she produced Army competitions worldwide to obtain members for the Showmobile units."
Besides his history of the 10th Special Service Company, Gould also sent me several photographs. One is a shot of the USS Walker, the troop ship that both he and Pepper Adams took from San Francisco to Japan on their way to Korea. Gould pointed out in our interview that he left for Japan on October 25 and Pepper would've left very early that October.
A second photo he sent me was of Kim Byung Joo, the sixteen-year-old house boy who worked at the Headquarters of the 10th Special Service Company in Seoul. Gould said that Joo was extremely intelligent and spoke perfect English. All attempts so far to locate Joo have been unsucessful, in part because his name is incredibly common. Joo is an important figure because Pepper addressed to Joo a very long letter in the form of a diary while returning to the US from Korea after his tour of duty concluded. It's the longest document I've found written by Pepper and it will be discussed in my forthcoming biography. Pepper had very strong paternal feelings for Joo, as I think most of the 2nd Platoon also felt.
Another photo shows some of the performers of the 2nd Platoon in their costumes and with a caption identifying their names: Jerry Lehmeier, Alfred (Mack) Sanders, Frank Horner, Al Lamo, Al Gould, Duke Duberry, Bob Weiss, Harry Fallon, Park (Pepper) Adams, Neal Brodie, Al Masco, Kenneth Barner and Fred Haney.
A fourth photograph is a spectacular color photograph of the band in performance in Korea in 1953 that I'll be including in the biography. Some of the entertainers in this photo, in Army fatigues, are different from the one above in their show costumes. Nevertheless, this amazing photo captures in vivid detail exactly what the 2nd Platoon was all about: performing at a makeshift stage in a rugged terrain straight out of a Hollywood Western, surrounded by trucks that transported the troop and gear.
Saturday, June 28, 2014
July 12: Detroit: Adams enlists in the U.S. Army. He was hoping to fail the induction physical and be found unfit for service.
cJuly 15: Waynesville MO: Basic Training at Ft. Leonard Wood.
cSept 1: Waynesville MO: Five months with the 6th Armored Division Band at Ft. Leonard Wood. Bill Evans and Tommy Flanagan were both at the post in other units.
Feb: Waynesville MO: Adams organizes a Special Services band at Ft. Leonard Wood for future performances in Korea.
Spring: Waynesville MO: As a ruse engineered by Charlie Parker (posing as Adams' mother's doctor), Adams receives an emergency furlough from Ft. Leonard Wood so that Adams could visit Parker in Kansas City. When Adams arrives at the club and learns that Parker is missing from his gig, Adams sees a movie, stays at the Y, then returns to the base the following day.
July: Ann Arbor MI: Hugh Jackson private recording with Bu Bu Turner, et al. Adams likely on 'Terminal Leave.'
July-Aug: Pontiac MI: While on "Terminal Leave," Adams goes to Thad Jones' parent's house for a jam session, soon after meeting Thad for the first time. Adams and Jones spend some additional time together during the last days of Adams' leave.
cOct 10: San Francisco: Adams is shipped off to Korea, possibly on the USS General Walker, a ship that transported 5,000 troops plus materiel to the staging area of Camp Drake.
cOct 29: Asaka, Japan: Adams is stationed at Camp Drake, awaiting re-assignment in Korea.
bearly Nov: Inchon, Korea: Adams arrives in Korea.
cNov 15: Korea: Adams first performance in the Eighth Army's 10th Special Services band.
Apr 5: near Kunsan, Korea: Tommy Flanagan trio, plus altoist Jerry Lehmeier, recorded on Easter, presumably at Base K-8. Adams was in the audience.
Apr 12: near Kunsan, Korea: Tommy Flanagan trio, plus altoist Jerry Lehmeier, recorded at Base K-8. Adams was in the audience.
May 17: Pusan, Korea: Adams boards the Marine Phoenix troopship for his return home.
cMay 23: Pacific Ocean: Adams performs on alto sax for returning troops in a quintet with Marv Holladay.
cJune 2: Seattle: Arrives at Ft. Lott.
June 5: Detroit: Receives honorable release from active duty.
June 6: Ft. Custer MI: Files discharge papers and is transferred to the U.S. Army Reserve.
Saturday, June 21, 2014
I hadn't listened to this very rare audience recording in many years. I finally got my cassette version converted to CD and listened to it in the car. Wow, did it hit me between the eyes! Ever hear a solo for the first time that completely blows you away? That's what happened to me here. I was mesmerized and broke out in a sweat! It wasn't the first time hearing it but it sure seemed like it.
Saturday, June 14, 2014
What's the deal with the second Joe Williams date with Thad Jones? The first one, discussed in Pepper Adams' Joy Road, was done after hours and includes some short but memorable solos by members of the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra. But the second one, Something Old, New and Blue? Dave Demsey, Frank Basile and I exchanged an interesting series of emails about this recording. This first from Demsey in late April, 2014:
Hi Gary,That Joe Williams Something Old/New/Blue date is amazing - and definitely NOT the Thad/Mel band. No musicians are credited (can you find that? I haven't been able to find any credits). In fact, it's not a big band date at all, most of it is either strings, multi-horns, etc. We have two of Thad's arrangements from that date, in Thad's handwriting (Young Man on the Way Up, and One More for the Road). There's no bari sax on that at all, I don't think; if there is, it might be ensemble stuff for one chart. Certainly no Pepper. It may be LA guys, I don't recognize any of the sax players at all.Knowing how much these guys ghost-wrote for one another, it would not surprise me at all if Bob Friedman did some of the charts on this...Thad is credited as "arrangements by Thad Jones" but who knows with that stuff? Bob could even have done something on the Thad/Mel Present Joe Williams date, although I'd think that was more hands-on for Thad, it was only their second album as a band, he was bringing in his old Basie star Joe...but as I said, nothing would surprise me. All of the Thad scores we have are in one hand -- Thad's...but I have heard many stories of Thad ghosting for others, of others ghosting for Quincy or for Benny Carter, etc. Quincy or Benny would sketch out the chart with the melodies and the lines, and others would come fill the parts out.Best,DaveDr. David DemseyCoordinator of Jazz StudiesProfessor of MusicCurator, Living Jazz ArchivesWilliam Paterson University
"This is most certainly not a big band date. There's a trumpet/tenor pairing on all the tunes, strings on a couple, vibes, and organ added on a few.-On 3 tunes ("One for My Baby," "Everybody Loves My Baby," and "When I Take My Sugar To Tea") there's a bigger horn section. Sounds to me like 3 or 4 saxes and at least 1 trumpet. I do hear baritone on these 3 tracks only. It's hard for me to discern whether it's Pepper or not due to the mix. But in certain passages when it's more audible, it does sound to me like it could be. There's a brief alto solo on "One For My Baby" that I'm almost certain is Jerome Richardson.-In many spots, the drummer sounds like Mel to me. (One good example is the intro to "Everybody Loves My Baby").-I'm not sure who the trumpet/tenor pairing is, but the brief tenor solo on "Young Man On The Way Up" sounds like it could be Eddie Daniels.-I don't have the original LP, but an LRC CD reissue with no personnel info. Pictures I've seen of the original LP cover say "Arranged and Conducted by Thad Jones." The arrangements to me certainly have plenty of Thadisms.-My guess would be that this was (or these were) a session (or sessions) that happened to use some guys from Thad and Mel's band and possibly other freelancers.-Gary, Where did you get the date/location info for this record (i.e. 23-27 April 1968, Los Angeles)? Assuming these dates/location are correct, it would seem logical to me that members of the band would be used for the session."I replied that I first learned of the date from Walter Bruyninckx's 60 Years of Recorded Jazz that I would've found at the Institute of Jazz Studies in the late 1980s. Once I researched their gig in San Francisco, I trimmed the dates accordingly.Dave Demsey wrote the following:
"Hi Frank and Gary,As I'd mentioned, I agree with Frank that there's no big band.We have copies of the original parts from the session for "One for My Baby." The instrumentation is alto/tenor/bari, two flugelhorns, trombone, vibes/gtr/pno/bass/drums. That's the biggest horn group on the record, although other charts may share something akin to that instrumentation.I agree about the drummer sounding like Mel, and interesting to say that might be Eddie Daniels on tenor, be cool to reach out to him and ask.I'm sure that, somewhere, there is a personnel list for this session, but it's not on either the original vinyl issue, or the CD re-release."