Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly: Pepper Adams in the U.S. Army

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

This Monday is Memorial Day, a national holiday that commemorates those who sacrificed their lives in the service of their country. It seems an appropriate time to take a look at Pepper Adams' time in the U.S. Army. I'd spend more time with it now but I'm taking the weekend off. I'll take up the topic soon. Until then, here's two things: An overview of Pepper's Army experience as seen in the Chronology section of (but with new upates) and an description of a memoir written by an Army buddy of Pepper's:
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.
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.
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: Adams receives an emergency furlough from Ft. Leonard Wood as a ruse, engineered by Charlie Parker (posing as Adams' mother's doctor), so that Adams could visit Parker in Kansas City. When Adams 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 possibly on 'Terminal Leave.'
July-Aug: Pontiac MI: Jam session at Thad Jones' house while on leave.
cOct 10: San Francisco: Adams is shipped off to Korea, by way of Ft. Lott in Seattle and Camp Drake near Tokyo, with the 10th Special Services Company.
cOct 29: Asaka, Japan: Adams is stationed at Camp Drake, awaiting re-assignment 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 very possibly by Pepper Adams (who was in the audience). Recorded on Easter, presumably at Base K-8.
Apr 12: near Kunsan, Korea: Tommy Flanagan trio, plus altoist Jerry Lehmeier, recorded very possibly by Pepper Adams (who was in the audience). Recorded at Base K-8.
May 17: Pusan, Korea: Adams boards the Marine Phoenix troopship for his return home.
cMay 23: Pacific Ocean: Adams performs, on alto, for returning troops, in a quintet with Doc 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.

"In this memoir, Alvin Gould recounts his experiences serving in the United States military during the Korean War. Gould spent nearly a year of his three year tour of duty as an accordionist in the 2nd Platoon of the 10th Special Services Company, an all-soldier entertainment unit made up of professional and celebrity musicians, comedians, magicians, and other entertainers. His unit broke all previous records, zigzagging over 7000 miles across South Korea and playing over 250 shows for military personnel and other UN troops. Gould completed his military service giving accordion lessons to a Colonel, working as a mail clerk in the 8th Army Headquarters in Seoul, and finally managing a service club as sergeant in charge at Fort Gordon, Georgia. In Boots on the Ground with Music in my Hands, Gould looks back at his service in the military fondly, sharing stories of family, friendship, and war."