Saturday, December 6, 2014

Shopping with Harry Carney

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.


Not long after Pepper Adams' death on 10 September 1986, his old college roomate from Wayne, Bob Cornfoot, prepared a remembrance for radio play of almost an hour in length to commemorate both Pepper and Thad Jones. Both Detroiters died within three weeks of each other. One of the things that Cornfoot discussed was the time when Adams replaced his student model Bundy baritone sax with a Balanced Action B-Flat Selmer. The Bundy was Adams' first baritone saxophone. He discovered it by chance while working as a Christmas extra at Grinnell's in 1947. His Selmer is what he used on all of his historic recordings from 1956-1978. Ultimately, metal fatigue made some of the keys unfixable. 

Cornfoot pointed out that Adams brought Harry Carney with him to Ivan C. Kay so the master could check out the instrument for the acolyte. Who better to check it out? The Duke Ellington Orchestra was in Detroit, playing the Paradise Theater from 15-30 October, 1948. Some of you would've read in an earlier post my account of Rex Stewart befriending Pepper in early March, 1944 at the RKO Temple Theatre. Pepper also met Carney at that time and it's presumed that Pepper stayed in close contact with the Ellingtonians.