Saturday, June 4, 2011
It was such a joy to be in Chicago last week to record all seven of Pepper Adams' ballads! It was Pepper Adams' unfulfilled wish at the time of his death in 1986 that lyrics be written to his ballads. Now, the lyrics that I commissioned posthumously have been recorded. The culmination of at least a half a year of planning, Jeremy Kahn took my ideas for transforming Pepper's ballads into other styles and wrote another brilliant set of arrangements. Transforming a dreamy, harmonically rich Strayhornesque ballad into a funk tune, for example, was just one of the ideas I had for Adams' ballads that Kahn crafted with extraordinary results. It sure helps when you have a terrific band. Jeremy and I brought back Ray Brown drummer George Fludas, who appears on Volumes 1 and 2 of this project. Joining us for the first time is the very tasteful Chicago bassist Dennis Carroll, who has played with Fludas for many years. Singer Alexis Cole, who collaborated in New York with poet/lyricist Barry Wallenstein to fit his words to Adams' compositions and, later, to Jeremy's provocative arrangements, sang on all seven tunes, each also a showcase for our two extraordinary tenor saxophonists, Pat LaBarbera and Eric Alexander. The date will be released on CD Baby, just prior to the group's concert at the Chicago Jazz Festival on Saturday, September 3. Please check out the date, and come on out and support the band and the music of Pepper Adams! The concert is free.