Saturday, July 25, 2015

Genealogical Breakthroughs and Other Ephemera

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved

What did the week bring about regarding Pepper Adams? Two significant developments and another possible one. First, was the receipt of an audience tape from Dave Schiff. It's a performance from June 21, 1974 of Pepper with Roland Hanna and several students at the Wilmington Music School in Wilmington, Delaware. (Another CD, from either 1968 or 1969 with Thad Jones, is forthcoming!) Adams and Hanna perform Thad Jones' "Quiet Lady" and Adams' "Civilization and Its Discontents" in a quartet and quintet format respectively to begin the concert. This is the only known time that Adams and Hanna performed these tunes apart from their recording of them on Adams' masterpiece LP, Ephemera, recorded the year before. "Civ" also has Schiff playing the melody on flute, which I believe was unknowingly a dry run for the Bill Perkins recording of the tune four years later. 

Two other tunes on the audience tape, "Straight, No Chaser" and "Royal Garden Blues," follow more of a jam session format, giving some the Camp's students a chance to show what they learned that week. It's possible that trombonist Wayne Andre was on the faculty and on the recording. I'll need to listen again, but not in my car, so I can finally make sense of some of these things.

I also had a email conversation with Schiff this week regarding his recording of "Civ" and my plans for the CD reissue of Ephemera. It turns out that Schiff recorded "Civ" as a tribute to Pepper, not knowing the title of the tune. His rendition will be added to soon so you can hear his arrangement. 

As for the reissue, an engineer friend of mine in Los Angeles, Jim Merod, is about to do post-mastering work on the date to try to improve the sound of the piano and to increase the volume of Mel Lewis' drums-- especially his brushwork on "Quiet Lady," that remains virtually inaudible. For his part, Schiff is also considering whether he can produce the reissue on his label. We may decide to do a modest Kickstarter campaign to pay for the first round of CDs. I hope we can rely on you, my faithful readers, to help with this project. Although Ephemera is one of Pepper's greatest recorded achievements, it's never been issued on CD!

Otherwise, I've been working with Jocelyn Ireland, a librarian in Utica, New York, and a genealogist colleague of hers, Keith Gerland, to try to make some sense out of the allegation that Pepper lived in Utica from the Summer of 1935 until the Summer of 1937. I was first given an anonymous tip about it in an unsigned email. (Who was that "masked man?") So far, however, nothing has turned up in the 1935 Utica city directory or any census information. I'm awaiting word as to whether there were 1936 or 1937 directories for Utica and if anything turns up. 

This from Ireland: "You mentioned doing a search for the family in Rome. We don't have any of their directories but I think may have some digitized. I'll have to check if they have Rome, NY around 1933-34. There is also the possibility the family stayed with Park F. Adams' parents in Oriskany, NY. I believe Oriskany may have been listed in Utica City Directories in the 1930s -- another thing I'll have to check. . . . I will check if there was any Adams in Oriskany, NY and if Rome's directory is on"

Jocelyn has been great thus far. From what I gather, Pepper Adams and his mother moved to Rome in the Summer of 1934 to reunify with Pepper's father after a three-year separation due to the lack of work during the worst of the Great Depression. They lived in Rome at 806 Jerris or Jervis Avenue from that summer until the Christmas holiday, when they moved to Rochester. They may have lived briefly in Oriskany with family, a small town between Rome and Utica, while searching for a place to live.

Jocelyn also found these links for grave sites, two with obituary information:

Grave and obituary of Pepper's father, Park Frederick Adams:

Birth: 1898
Oneida County
New York, USA
Death: May 19, 1940
Monroe County
New York, USA

Utica Daily Press

Park Adams, 44, a native of Rome, died May 19, 1940 of a heart attack in his home in Rochester.

He was born in Rome, son of the late Nathaniel and Frances Adams. He married Cleo Coyle in Detroit, Michigan. He had lived in Rochester four years, where he was a manufacturer's representative. He went to Rochester from Detroit. He was a member of the Christian Science Church in Rochester, the Masonic Lodge and Knights of Templar in Detroit.

He leaves a daughter, Mrs. George Gifford, Rochester, a son, Park Adams Jr., Rochester, three sisters, Mrs. Fred Weaver and Mrs. Roy Johnson, both of Los Angeles, and Mrs. Rita Head, Oriskany, and a grandchild.

The funeral will be conducted in Rochester tomorrow with burial in New Union Cemetery in Verona Mills

Family links:
  Nathaniel Qunicy Adams (1858 - 1929)
  Frances Cleveland Adams (1863 - 1940)
New Union Cemetery
Oneida County
New York, USA

Park Adams
Added by: Bea Lastowicka
Park Adams
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Tombstone Hunter
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

 Added: Oct. 9, 2006

Grave and obituary of Pepper's paternal grandmother, Frances Cleveland Adams:

Birth: 1863
Herkimer County
New York, USA
Death: Jan. 26, 1940
Los Angeles
Los Angeles County
California, USA

Rome Sentinel
January 27, 1940

Mrs. Frances Cleveland Adams, widow of Nathaniel Quicny Adams, a former resident of Rome and Oriskany, died Friday at a hospital in Los Angeles, California. She had gone to California a year ago last November to make her home with her daughters.

She was born in Mohawk, a daughter of Abel B. and Abbie J. Cleveland. About 62 years ago she was married to Mr. Adams who died about 10 years ago.

Her married life was spent in New London, Churchville and Rome before coming to Oriskany 25 years ago. For a number of years, the Adams operated the Temperance Hotel, S. James St., Rome.

Mrs. Adams was a member of First Methodist Church, Rome, and later of Waterbury Memorial Presbyterian Church, Oriskany. She was a member of Queen Esther Rebekah Lodge, Rome. She was also a member of the Maccabees and served through the offices, the organization later becoming the Women's Benefit Association. She was also a member of Oriskany Chapter 524, OES and had served as chaplain and in other offices.

Survivors are three daughters, Mrs. Fred R. Weaver and Mrs. Roy H. Johnston, both of West Los Angeles, California, and Mrs. Rita Head or Oriskany, a sister, Mrs. Emma Callahan, Rome, seven grandchildren, including Francis Head, Rome and Mrs. Lee Kite, Lowell, and five great-grandchildren. 

Birth: 1899
Death: 1971
South Park Cemetery
Columbia City
Whitley County
Indiana, USA
Plot: 2-26-1

Created by: Jim Cox
Record added: Jun 17, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 27629332
Cleo <i>Coyle</i> Adams
Added by: Just Dave
Cleo <i>Coyle</i> Adams
Cemetery Photo
Added by: vcrusaderfan
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

Obviously, I now have a whole new world of research to pursue regarding Pepper's ancestors. I'll let you know of my progress. I did do a search regarding the Coyles. So far, it seems that Pepper's mother is the only child of Charles (1869-1916) and Minnie B Coyle (1872-1941). I'm trying to determine if/how Eloise Coyle was related. She lived in Columbia City, Indiana (in Whitley County) in 1935 (just after Adams and his mother left for New York), and was married, as of the 1940 U.S. Census, to Carl Banning (born c. 1920). Her age makes her a possible first-cousin.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Growing Up in Rochester, 1935-1947

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

For the last few weeks I've been reading Blake McKelvey's history of Rochester. McKelvey, one of America's greatest urban historians, wrote, among many books about Rochester, his definitive four-volume study: Rochester: The Water-Power City, 1812-1854; Rochester: The Flower City, 1855-1890; Rochester: The Quest for Quality, 1890-1925; and Rochester: An Emerging Metropolis, 1925-1961. Fortunately for me, late in his life, McKelvey abridged his roughly 1600 page study into one 300-page volume, Rochester on the Genesee. I read this book up to his account of 1929, then turned to the original fourth volume, that I read from 1929 until mid-1947, when Adams left Rochester for Detroit. What I was after was a basic understanding of Rochester's origins as a city, but I wanted the specificity that the original study would give me about Pepper Adams' time in Rochester and how the Great Depression was navigated by its citizens beginning slightly before Pepper arrived.

I've learned much about the derivation and makeup of Rochester, but McKelvey's accounts of what went on during Pepper's boyhood is really fascinating. Even as a young grade-school student (ages eleven to fourteen), Adams wouldn't have been immune to all the things going on in Rochester on behalf of the war effort. Here's some of my notes about his Rochester experience, in no apparent order:

With Defense Department orders coming into Rochester factories in the late 1930s as a response to war in Europe, the last traces of the Great Depression ended. By late 1940, as the United States clung to its neutrality while Hitler invaded countries in Europe, Rochesterians were involved in numerous war relief drives, and the sale of defense bonds and scrap drives. According to McKelvey, "the first scrap metal drive collected over twenty tons of aluminum. A paper-salvage campaign quickly eliminated all danger of a shortage in that field. Awakening to the value of scrap metal, the City Council halted its plan to cover old trolley tracks with asphalt and undertook the more laborious task of salvaging them for scrap."

As a ten-year-old boy, Pepper Adams would have heard, observed, read or participated in all sorts of activity taking place around him in response to the war. Many citizens listened to President Franklin Roosevelt's "fireside chats" throughout the 1930s and Adams likely heard some of these with his parents as they continued throughout the war. 

Virtually every organization in Rochester was eager to help with the war effort. The Boy Scouts and Automobile Club helped itemize cars that could assist in an evacuation of the city, the Society of Engineers surveyed buildings suitable as bomb shelters, the League of Women Voters distributed information about various defense provisions and devised an example of a "blackout room," county staff drew up contingency plans for the evacuation of 20,000 Rochesterians, and school children were asked to fill out a questionnaire indicating if they needed special assistance in the event of an evacuation. A series of practice exercises took place in Rochester to test blackouts.

As per McKelvey: "The technical facilities of many Rochester firms attracted a flood of defense contracts exceeding $75 million in total value by the end of August, 1941. . . . Defense contracts brought a surge in employment." 

After the invasion of Pearl Harbor, many Rochesterians joined the military and, according to McKelvey,  "local officials hastily stationed emergency police at several vital points--notably the airport, the reservoirs, and the New York Central Bridge across the Genesee River. Defense industries increased their guards; 400 legionnaires voluntarily manned a series of air-raid posts; both the city and county defense councils engaged full-time staffs and prepared to operate on a war basis. When a hastily announced blackout demonstrated some of the inadequacies of the earlier civilian defense provisions, jittery residents readily backed measures for improvement; some called for an effective roundup of all enemy aliens. . . . With the outbreak of war, the President designated all Japanese, German and Italian nationals as enemy aliens and required them to turn in to the police all cameras, shortwave radio sets, and firearms. . . . The city and county war councils sprang quickly into action." 2600 volunteered for air-raid duty, 500 as auxiliary firemen, 1000 as aircraft-spotters, 1000 as auxiliary police and 400 for a civilian air patrol. The Red Cross were tasked with training nurses for possible emergencies. Volunteers prepared thousands of first aid kits and a blood bank was established. 

Unlike the war-bond drives in World War I that were intermittent, Adams would have recognized the incessant war bond drives of his era. As a citizen, he would have participated in the scrap-metal drives too, though it's not known to what extent school children participated. In 1941, Rochester collected of 20 tons of aluminum; in 1942 the city exceeded 1000 tons. Rubber salvage netted 300 tons. Rochester barbers collected in two months 240,000 used razor blades. Some 200 tons of tin cans were collected. Besides metal and other common scrap, housewives were also asked to salvage fats from its garbage.

According to McKelvey, "It was in the great scrap-metal drive of October [1942] that the community as a whole outdid itself. A skillful newspaper campaign, featuring the achievements of other communities, prepared the way. The Junior Chamber enrolled several hundred volunteer scrap sorters who turned out on five holidays to help speed the metal to hungry foundries. Because of the great number and generous size of the curbstone scrap piles, the scheduled collections, on October 24, was prolonged over a period of several weeks." 

Rationing was another effect of the war. Sales of tires and sugar were limited, as were the sale of meat, shoes, new cars, typewriters, bicycles and other scarce items. Ration books were distributed, and hundreds of teachers and volunteers scrutinized more than a half a million applicants for coffee, gasoline, building materials and other items. Because of gas rationing, bus traffic became more common as a form of transportation.

Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year's celebrations were observed quietly at home, McKelvey writes, due to the continuing war effort and out of respect to returning servicemen.

Nine blackout tests took place in 1943.

The summer of 1944 attracted high-school students and teachers to help with harvest as labor for the war effort was siphoning off all able-bodied men, women and even POWs.

Even despite 7000 of its employees working for the war effort, Eastman Kodak expanded its operation during the war. By December, 1944 it employed 29,000 workers.

Red Cross and Community Chest drives were also successful in raising funds and collecting used clothing for war relief.

A victory-garden program enrolled 30,000 volunteer gardeners in 1943 and 1944 to alleviate any food shortages.

The Rochester park system, one of America's best, was maintained at full capacity during the war, even with a budget austerity in place, as seen in other city programs.

A severe snow storm, the worst in 40 years, took place on December 11-12, 1944.
Another winter storm paralyzed the city on Nov 29, 1945.

Rochester was very proactive and ahead of the curve regarding its unemployment situation after the Crash of 1929. In February 1931, Kodak and thirteen other large Rochester companies established unemployment insurance for its workers. Relief work for the unemployed was established in 1931 and again in 1932, with matching funds from the state. 250 acres were given to 2000 families as "self-help gardens" to grow food. The program was sustained the following year and for years to come. A large bond was supported by local banks for relief work and city services after Franklin D. Roosevelt's inauguration in 1933. All of this was established before Roosevelt's New Deal reforms were rolled out in the U.S.

                (Acclaimed historian Blake McKelvey.)

Saturday, July 11, 2015

8-Tracks Galore!

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

How about a break from Rochester, New York? Although my work continues, and it remains continually fascinating to me, I thought I'd take a diversion and revisit an old thread from a few months ago. Do you remember my discussion of Pepper Adams' 8-track collection? I wrote about it in conjunction with the Rex Stewart material that Pepper recorded to amuse himself. Pepper's 8-track collection provides all sorts of clues into what he liked, what was in his collection, and what he liked to listen to while cruising around from gig to gig in around 1965-1975.

Here a guided tour to his collection, that I eagerly scooped up with his Wollensak 8-track player (see when his widow, Claudette, allowed me to take anything I wanted as she was disposing of Pepper's belongings in late 1986.

It's hard to determine what ones Pepper actually purchased and what ones he might have obtained along the way. If there's any one he would have bought, however, it's Flanagan's 1975 solo recital on Pablo of all Ellington/Strayhorn compositions!

1. Duke Ellington, Greatest Hits (with Solitude, Caravan, Mood Indigo, The  Hawk Talks, Sophisticated Lady, The Mooch, VIP Boogie and Accentuate.
2. Donald Byrd, Street Lady.
3. Coleman Hawkins, Sirius.
4. Miles Davis, Filles de Kilimanjaro.
5. Yusef Lateef, Suite 16.
6. The  Trumpet Kings Meet Joe Turner.
7. Chick Corea, Light As a Feather.
8. Miles Davis, Sketches of Spain.
9. Jean Sibelius, Symphony No. 6 and 7.
10. The Definitive Jazz Scene, Vol. 1 (Impulse)
11. Tommy Flanagan, Tokyo Recital.

There's one overview of early Rex Stewart material that Pepper put together and would have originally enjoyed when he was growing up in Rochester (1935-1947). All of the material is pre-1945 work, mostly with Ellington. I discussed this in an earlier post:

Here's six tapes Adams prepared, four from air checks.

1. Scrapple from the Apple, Groovin' High, Anthropology, Now's the Time, Bird of Paradise, Ornithology, Koko, Cheryl, Dizzy Atmosphere, This Time the Dream's on Me, 'Round About Midnight, Move, Out of Nowhere, Cool Blues, 52nd Street Theme, Scrapple from the Apple, Moose the Mooche.

2. Blue 'n Boogie, Anthropology, 'Round About Midnight, Night in Tunisia, Shaw 'Nuff, Hot House, Groovin' High, Slow Boat to China, Be-Bop, Ooh-Bop-She-Bam, Scrapple from the Apple, Be-Bop, Hot House, Cheryl, Salt Peanuts, How High the Moon, Big Foot, Salt Peanuts, Out of Nowhere, Parker's Mood.

3. Dial recordings: Drifting on a Reed, Out of Nowhere, Moose the Mooche, Bongo Bop, Cheers, Bird of Paradise, Dexterity, Bongo Beep, Dark Shadows, Scrapple from the Apple, Relaxin' at Camarillo, Klactoveesedstene, Don't Blame Me, Dewey Square, Ornithology, Out of Nowhere, Bird Feathers, Quasimodo, Hallelujah, Bird of Paradise, Dexterity, Bongo Bop, Klactoveesedstene, My Old Flame, Bird's Nest.

4. At the Cafe Society Downtown: Just Friends, April in Paris, Bewitched, Summertime, I Cover the Waterfront, Gone with the Wind, Easy to Love.
At the William Henry Apartments: Half Nelson, Cherokee, Scrapple from the Apple, Star Eyes, Bernie's Tune, Donna Lee, Out of Nowhere, Half Nelson, Fine and Dandy, Little Willie Leaps, All the Things You Are
In Malmo: Lover Man, Cool Blues, Anthropology 
With Milt Buckner: Groovin' High.

5. Bird at the Pershing Ballroom (Chicago, 1950): Indiana, I Can't Get Started, Anthropology, Out of Nowhere, Get Happy, Hot House, Embraceable You, Body and Soul, Cool Blues, Stardust, All the Things You Are, Billie's Bounce, Pennies from Heaven.

6. Dial recordings: various well know titles, including Dewey Square, The Break, Embraceable You, Cool Blues, How Deep Is the Ocean, Crazeology, Relaxin' at Camarillo, etc.

Here's the contents of two 8-tracks that Pepper prepared. The first five cuts of #2 are from The Magnificent Thad Jones, Volume II.

1. Compulsory, All of Us, Zec, Alone Together, Cross Purpose, Scratch, Forever Summer, Let's, Blue Room, Tiptoe, Zec, Played Twice, Brother Peabody, Black Light.

2. April in Paris, Billie-Doo, If I Love Again, If Someone Had Told Me, Thedia, Lady Luck, You Don't Know What Love Is, Osie's Oasis, I Mean You, Balanced Scales = Justice, Ill Wind, Quince, I'll Remember April.

Six tapes of solo, duo and trio recordings.

1. with Reggie Workman and Joe Chambers: Pent-Up House, Condado Beach, Let's Call This, So Sorry Please, Ballad, Milestones, Softly As in a Morning Sunrise, Night in Tunisia, Some Day My Prince Will Come, Autumn Leaves, It's All Right with Me, Angle Eyes, Straight Mo Chaser;
with George Mraz and Elvin Jones: Cup Bearers.

2. solo and trio: Parisian Thoroughfare, In Your Own Sweet Way, Like a Butterfly, Here's That Rainy Day, Alone Too Long, Maybe September, Strollin', Glad to Be Unhappy, No More, That Old Devil Called Love, Barbados, Some Other Spring, Easy Living, Woody 'n' You, Star-Crossed Lovers, Jump for Joy, Blue Bossa, Peace, Friday the 13th

3. Flanagan solos, as a sideman, with: 
Eddie Davis: Straight Ahead
Pee Wee Russell Memorial
At Ease with Coleman Hawkins
Introducing Kenny Burrell
Coleman Hawkins-Clark Terry
NY Jazz Sextet
Howard McGhee: Dusty Blue.

4. with Ron Carter and Roy Haynes: 52nd Street Theme, Smooth as the Wind; Passion Flower; Muffin; Ruby, My Dear: Verdandi; Bess, You Is My Woman Now; Hustle Bustle; Lament; Bean and the Boys; In Walked Bud; Ultima Thule; The Very Thought of You, Dignified Appearance.
with Keeter Betts and J. Smith: Something Borrowed, Something Blue; West Coast Blues; Groovin' High; Bird Song; Good Bait.
with J.J Johnson: Blue Trombone.

5. with Joe Benjamin and "Doc": America, Lonely Town; Tonight, It's Love; Lucky to Be Me; Glitter, Be Gay; Make Our Garden Grow.
with Hank Jones, Kenny Burrell, Paul Chambers, Arthur Taylor: Yesterdays, You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To, Chasin' the Bird, Dear Old Stockholm, The Theme, Confessin'.
duet with Hank Jones: Our Delight, Autumn Leaves, Robbins' Nest.

6. Super Session (with Red Mitchell and Elvin Jones): Django, Minor Perhaps, Too Late Now, I Love You, Rachel's Rondo, Things Ain't What They Used to Be.
Plays Howard Arlen (with George Mraz and Connie Kay): Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, Over the Rainbow, Sleepin' Bee, Ill Wind, Out of This World, One for My Baby, Get Happy, My Shining Hour, Last Night When We Were Young.

Any one know who the drummer "Doc" is in #5 above? Next week, or whenever I resume this inventory, I'll get deeper into Pepper's collection. Have a great week!

                         (Tommy Flanagan)

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Letter to Noal

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

Here's a post in the form of a letter. I sent it to Rochester drummer and author Noal Cohen, who has helped me with my research of early Rochester jazz. Cohen currently lives in New Jersey, but worked with Chuck Mangione and Ron Carter in Rochester when he lived there in the late 1950s. He's the esteemed coauthor of Rat Race Blues, the biography of Gigi Gryce.

Hi Noal: I'm making great progress on the early days. I'll be doing one last interview tomorrow night with 88-year-old Fred Remington, Dave Remington's first cousin. He was a Tatum-style pianist who became a psychiatrist. He knew all the cats in the 1940s, including Herbie Brock. I'm hopeful he can put a useful spin on that time and answer some of my remaining questions. 

With my various interviews, I now have a composite of those times, including how bop was slowly incorporated into Rochester's music. I'll be writing it up in a blog post. That post will also include some other research I've done about Rochester jazz in the early 1950s--not germane to my Pepper biography, of course--but it will include a mention of a clique of musicians, Jon Hendricks among them, and so forth.

It doesn't sound like the Frederick Douglass Voice covered the jazz scene. In my interview with saxophonist Ralph Dickinson, who read the paper then, he said that his six-month gig at the Elite wasn't mentioned in the Voice. Considering that, it seems doubtful it ever was mentioned during the time Pepper played in the band. Because of that, I've decided not to visit the Rochester Museum and peruse back issues. I have descriptions of the Elite from two different sources and that will suffice. The building and general area was torn down to build the Inner Loop [highway], so I'm not even visiting it to take photographs. I also get the sense that Howard Coles' radio shows were gospel oriented and inspirational in nature, plus I guess he relied on his sources and his newspaper work to also speak about affairs of the day? 

The radio shows that would interest me are Raymond Murphy programs on WRNY in 1946 and '47, if any exist, because Pepper had some input into their preparation and listened to them while in high school. I've been told that a large collection of old radio programs are housed at St. John Fisher College. I'm researching that to see if they possibly exist, but it's a long shot indeed. 

I've also been in touch with a blues harpist, Tom Hanney, who is on the faculty of RIT and is doing original research on the blues scene in Rochester. It looks like it doesn't go back that far, but, very significantly, Son House lived in obscurity in Rochester from the early 1940s until he was rediscovered by Alan Wilson of Canned Heat in the mid-1960s. I've asked Tom to try to determine whether House got any press or even occasionally surfaced to do a gig here and there when Pepper lived in Rochester. At this point, it seems doubtful but we'll see.

The series from the D&C [newspaper], "Whatever Happened to . . . ," gives me all sorts of color about what Rochester was like in the first half of the century. I'll be relying on that to give my chapter some more depth. There's a monograph written by Curt Gerling called Smugtown that was published in the 1940s in the American Journal of Sociology that I'd like to see. It measures the moral index of Rochester (disguised by the euphemism "Gorge City.")

An important urban history of Rochester was written in four volumes by Blake McKelvey, originally by Harvard U. Press. That's also something I'd like to check out. Volume 4 seems like the one I want. 

Lastly, I'll be getting a thumb drive of info from Doug Duke researcher Sheron Dixon Wahl with all sorts of data on it. Clearly, Duke was one of the pioneers of the jazz organ and important in that way. He played for many years at Squeezer's.

I'll write my last historical blog post about Rochester, then send you the link. I'd be pleased if you could add it with my other ones to your site. It will in some ways be the core of my RIT talk on October 21.

All the best,
Gary Carner

                                     (Drummer Noal Cohen)