Thursday, August 16, 2012

Complete Works of Pepper Adams Sampler

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

The first review of the Joy Road Sampler is in from Critical Jazz:

"A typical review doesn't work here. This is a release of historical significance as much as it is an artistic triumph. Joy Road Sampler is not a melancholy look back but a celebration of what lies ahead in jazz today. From Gary Carner to the musicians to the incredible people at Motema Records, not a conventional release but a sublime experience. An epic work."

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Very Rare Tommy Flanagan, Korea 1953

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

In Pepper Adams' archives is a very rare tape, just transferred to CD. On Easter Sunday (5 April) 1953, presumably at Base K-8 near Kunsan, Korea, Tommy Flangan's trio with altoist Jerry Lehmeier, recorded five tracks, all with piano solos, including Get Happy, I Love You, and Dancing in the Dark.  The bassist and drummer are unknown.

The following Sunday, 12 April 1953, at Base K-8 near Kunsan, Korea, the same group performed eight tracks, including 's Wonderful, Body and Soul, and Out of Nowhere.  There are no piano solos and the rhythm section supported Lehmeier as featured soloist.

Pepper Adams can be heard in the audience, so it's possible he produced the recording.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Gary Smulyan with the Yorkshire Jazz Orchestra

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

As part of the International Celebration of Pepper Adams that's taking place from August-November, 2012 in the United States, Canada, and England, baritone saxophonist Gary Smulyan will be performing the music of Pepper Adams throughout England.  His tour there in November includes a concert as featured soloist with Tony Faulkner's Yorkshire Jazz Orchestra on 23 November at Seven Arts in Leeds.  Smulyan will be performing a concert of new arrangements of Pepper Adams compositions, written by Faulkner especially for the Adams celebration.
See details:

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Lyrics to Pepper Adams Ballads

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

Here are four lyrics, written by the esteemed poet Barry Wallenstein, that he wrote for Pepper's Julian, Urban Dreams, Lovers of Their Time, and Civilization and Its Discontents.  These and three others will be released in September on the Motema Music CD Alexis Cole Sings Pepper Adams, featuring Pat LaBarbera and Eric Alexander, with arrangements by Jeremy Kahn.

Urban Dreams

Look up above to the giants looming high,  
look up to crystal gods of steel.
They show the signs of our lusting, 
our dreaming and our love, 
with buildings breeding crowds above.

Now casting down shade for our glide in summertime, 
for comforts so slow in the heat.
For as we slide in the summertime, our arms intertwined, 
we cool down in the city's shade.

Fast streets, bright corners, sharp edged and wild, 
take me, oh, take me far. 
From the icy cityscape, we escape 
to the gentle warmth of the Lenox Lounge. 

Look up above to the giants looming large, 
look up to crystal gods of glass.
For as we slide into summertime, arms intertwined, 
promenading in this urban dream.

Lovers of Their Time

Lovers of their time clearly wanting more,
as in a taste beyond the tonic,
the spinning sands along the shore,
the far-off shore.

In movement, red-faced lovers waltz.
Spellbound to their cores gathering bliss, a magic kiss,
gathering bliss, a magic kiss.

Lovers of their time: tremble, smile and weep once more.
Holding off sleep, they hold the view.
They will not change, they dare not move.

Having the time, the blessing.
The rich gift of watching time comes to their hearts, 
settles within the chamber's mind.


Within the beat he drove his sound 
from the cannon out to the stars.
He never knew fangs of fame.
For they played Mercy Mercy under his spell;
they played it well.

Within his heart he struck a match, 
lit the wick, preserving the flame,
and Cannonball became his name.  
Never was the end in sight.  It never came; 
he flew so high he never died.

And the music is now, now burnished bright.  
Note follows note to be reborn.  
The sounds in time do a free fall
into the folds, the folds of time.

Oh, shine on gold and silver horns, 
stay true beyond all remorse.  
Your inner breath beats so true.
Now untamed to the lonely soul, 
too wild to lose, or to live without.

Civilization and Its Discontents

The world is old, the condition too new
to dream away from the weathering kiss
which it warns, and does not savor fear 
of what the wind can or can not do.

The world is old, the condition so new.
We turn away from a brother's sweet kiss
that was fine and did not touch on fear 
of what war does or will never do.

The winds are strong, so very dark around our lives,
into our lives. The vivid past, the loving thriving past,
drops from memory and all else.

The world is old, the condition too new
to dream away from the weathering kiss
which comes close, showing us what is,
what fell away, and what will stay.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Complete Works of Pepper Adams

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

The following tunes will be released on a physical CD and as a digital sampler by Motema Records in August.
These tunes, intended for radio play, are taken from the Complete Works of Pepper Adams, Volumes 1-5, also
being released in August.  Leaders of these dates are Jeremy Kahn, Kevin Bales, Frank Basile, and Alexis
Track Listing:

1.   Enchilada Baby      KAHN 4          Excerent Music   4:28
2.   Doctor Deep           KAHN 3          Excerent Music   3:59            
3.   Julian                     KAHN 4          D'Accord Music   4:36
4.   Claudette's Way      BALES           Excerent Music   5:15
5.    Binary                    BASILE          Excerent Music   5:21      
6.    Muezzin’                KAHN 3          Thank Music       4:47
7.    In Love with Night   COLE              Excerent Music   7:49
8     Ephemera              KAHN 3          D'Accord Music   6:30
9.    Bossallegro            BALES           Excerent Music   6:30    
10.  Joy Road                BASILE          Excerent Music    6:31
11.  I Carry Your Heart    COLE            Excerent Music    3:34

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Pepper Big Band Charts

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

British arranger Tony Faulkner is writing four big band charts of Pepper Adams tunes: Enchilada Baby, Mary's Blues, Doctor Deep, and A Winters Tale.  Eight other charts (Ephemera, Bossa Nouveau, Reflectory, Rue Serpente, Apothegm, Patrice, Civilization and Its Discontents, and In Love With Night) will be done in advance of my Pepper Adams book tour, starting in August. Vocal arrangements of Ephemera and Civ will also be done.  Contact me if you wish to play this music.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Pepper Adams Symposium in Worcester

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

The Director of Jazz Studies at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Rich Falco, has approved a symposium examining the life, music, and influence of Pepper Adams on Saturday, September 22.  Presenters will be author Gary Carner and saxophonist Gary Smulyan, after which both will be interviewed by WPI professors Falco and Eunmi Shim.  This event will be the first half of the day-long Adams festivities.  That evening the WPI Big Band will play newly written charts by Frank Griffith, Osian Roberts, and Tony Faulkner of Pepper Adams compositions, including two vocal arrangements that will be given their world premiere.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Soka University Program, 19 October 2012

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

“The Music of Donald Byrd and Pepper Adams”
Soka Performing Art Center, Alisa Viejo, CA October 19, 2012

Dale Fielder-baritone sax / Nolan Shaheed-trumpet /
Jane Getz-piano / Trevor Ware-bass / Don Littleton-drums

Introduction & Remarks by Gary Carner

Part I: The Music of Pepper Adams
1. Dylan’s Delight
2. Patrice (Quartet.)
3. Wives And Lover’s
4. Apothegm (Quartet.)
5. Libeccio
6. Claudette’s Way
7. Ephemera (Quartet.)
8. Excerent

Part II: The Music of the Donald Byrd/Pepper Adams Quintet 1958-1961
1.  Out of This World
2. Jeannine
3. Here Am I
4. Each Time I Think of You
5. Birdhouse
6. Jorgie’s
7. Mr. Lucky

Friday, April 13, 2012

Dale Fielder to Play Soka Performing Arts Center

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

As part of Pepper Adams Week in Los Angeles, Dale Fielder's Quintet has been invited to perform the compositions of Pepper Adams at the prestigious Soka University's Performing Arts Center in Aliso Viejo on Friday night, October 19, 2012.  This 1,000 seat, LEED certified facility is known and admired for its superb acoustics and in-the-round setting.  During a handful of performances that week at differing venues, Fielder will be the first musician to ever play the entire cycle of all 43 Adams compositions.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Pepper Adams Week in Los Angeles

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

A multitude of activities will occur in the LA area from Monday, October 15 until Sunday, October 21.  This week-long celebration of Pepper Adams will begin Monday with a press reception and a big band concert of Pepper's music, featuring arrangements by Frank Griffith, Osian Roberts, Tony Faulkner, John Marabuto, and Larry Dickson.  Dale Fielder will be the first musician in history to perform the entire cycle of 43 Adams tunes that week, and baritone saxophonists Adam Schroeder and Gary Smulyan will participate in still other concerts.  Either Thursday or Friday night the California premiere of Bevan Manson's arrangements of Pepper's ballads for baritone, string quartet, and string bass, will take place at the G Spot in Downtown Los Angeles.  Stay tuned for complete festival information.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Dan Morgenstern's Foreword to Pepper Adams' Joy Road

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

It's indeed an honor for one of the most esteemed jazz historians of the last sixty years to write a foreword to my book.  Thank you, Dan Morgenstern!  


    While correct, "Annotated Discography" by no means says all about this fascinating record of a great musician's career and life. For decades, Gary Carner has
devoted himself to tracing every musical step by Pepper Adams, from the very first teenaged endeavor, captured by a recording device, professional or amateur,
issued or not. And he has enhanced the carefully gathered discographical details with additional information, musical, technical and personal, about the performance circumstances, more often than not obtained from participants and observers, as well as from interviews, published and personal, with the man himself.
    Quite a man, too--not only one of the outstanding practitioners of the baritone saxophone, but a brilliant, complicated guy, whom I had the distinct pleasure of knowing.
If there is a subtext here, it would be the fact that Pepper was the only white musician in the "Detroit Invasion" that descended upon the New York jazz scene in the late
1950s, accepted as a "primus inter pares" by his black colleagues--and friends. Early on, you will find an amusing anecdote about Alfred Lion's first reaction to Pepper's
music: the founder of Blue Note Records refused to believe that the player on the demo tape the young baritonist had submitted was not black,  going so far as to calling him a liar. Pepper would of course go on to participate in many a Blue Note session--if Lion ever apologized, we'll never know.
     Good discographies are certainly very useful tools, but it is highly uncommon for a discography, even an annotated one, to also qualify as a good read. But "Pepper Adams'
Joy Road" most definitely is. It brings the man as well as his music to life. Read--and listen--well!

 Dan Morgenstern

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Peter King, Pete Lukas and Gary Smulyan Play Pepper Adams

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

This exciting frontline of alto sax, and two baritones, will be performing at least two concerts in London in November:

Th, Nov. 22, Pizza Express, London
Sat, Nov 24, The Church, Pinner (Harrow), England

Friday, March 16, 2012

After 27 Years My Pepper Adams Book is Done

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

After 27 years of research, my first book on Pepper Adams, Pepper Adams' Joy Road: An Annotated Discography, is finally done and sent to the editor for publication on September 1.  Here's my Preface:


      Throughout jazz’s illustrious history, live and studio performances have been frozen in time on recordings, preserving for listeners the musical traditions passed down, from generation to generation, by jazz’s great improvisers. Because of recordings’ pivotal role in conveying jazz’s oral tradition, it can be argued that recordings are jazz’s most basic and enduring artifact. If that’s indeed the case, then discographies—books that list these recordings—are jazz’s most fundamental reference works.
      A jazz musician’s discography is a musical story. It shows the people he played with, the venues he played, the progression of his art over time, the maturation of his repertoire, the compositions he wrote.  It functions as a life chronology and a buying guide.
      What you have in your hands is Pepper Adams’ story, as told by his recordings. It’s the culmination of three decades of research on Adams’ recorded work—from the LP and cassette era to VHS, CDs, DVDs, and now YouTube—that began in 1984, when I worked with Adams on his memoirs during the last two years of his life.
      After much of our work was done, in 1985 I moved from New York to Boston to study jazz musicology with Lewis Porter. I was already well along on the biographical aspects of Adams’ life, but I needed to learn from an expert about discographical research, and to round out my knowledge of jazz history, especially the 1920 and ’30s. Apart from all that Lewis Porter taught me (and it was considerable), during that time I adopted an overarching strategy to my Adams research: I would, at the very least, try to interview everyone still alive who recorded with Adams, with the aim of verifying published and anecdotal discographical information. The end result was vastly improved data, plus two things I hadn’t anticipated: The first was the discovery of many unknown recordings. The other was learning fascinating new details of well-known sessions, sometimes in glorious detail, that cast entirely new light on the creative process and on the business of jazz.
      While busy making sense of this, in 1987 Evrard Deckers, an independent researcher working in Belgium, asked me to review the discography he was compiling on Pepper Adams. After a few years of correspondence, and a trip to Belgium, in 1992 Deckers and I decided to collaborate on a co-authored work. It was a wonderful division of labor, since I’d focus on my archival materials and North American research while Deckers could mine the many resources available in Europe. This was before the internet and Google era, so geography mattered far more than it does now. Evrard Deckers contributed much new information, especially regarding reissues, European radio broadcasts, and audience recordings, before he died in his sleep at home in 1997.
      In the fifteen years since his death, however, this book has become an entirely different entity. The biggest change is the addition of transcribed interview material that took me two years to complete. It occurred to me that some of my interview material only pertained to Adams’ discography, and was too nuanced to be used in an Adams biography. If not used here, it would never be published.
      Also new to the manuscript, I’ve identified Adams’ solos, so that listeners can focus on these recordings, as opposed to those he did as a sideman or studio player.  Moreover, much new recorded material, and a new generation of reissues, has been released since 1997, necessitating a great deal of additional research.
      The format of the discography, too, has been completely overhauled to better conform to current standards and make it more legible. Annotations and footnotes, for example, have been redesigned, LP titles have been added, and subtle changes have been instituted, such as adding the country of origin and identifying 78s, 45s, LPs, CDs, VHS, and DVDs.
      Joy Road is so named not just to riff on one of Adams’ great compositions. I chose it to also capture the essence of Adams’ life on the road, playing jazz with a cast of thousands, some of whom are quoted in this book. It’s also my tribute to Adams’ great recorded oeuvre, his 43 magnificent compositions, and they joy he derived from playing the baritone saxophone.
      Much about Adams’ personality is woven throughout the annotations, especially among younger musicians that witnessed Adams’ final illness. In a sense, I’ve tried, like documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, to infuse my work with a kind of “emotional archeology.” Those who are interested in getting a still deeper understanding of Adams’ life might enjoy my companion volume, a full-length biography of Adams, tentatively entitled In Love with Night. I’m planning to finish it well before 2030, the centennial of Pepper Adams’ birth. In the meantime, please consult, the website I maintain as the historical record of his life and work.

Gary Carner
Braselton GA

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Dale Fielder to Play Complete Pepper Adams Compositions in Los Angeles

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

Saxophonist Dale Fielder will be the first musician in history to play the entire Pepper Adams songbook of 43 tunes.  He's doing it with his Los Angeles rhythm section on four consecutive nights:

Thursday, October 18: to be determined
Friday, October 19: Vibrato, 2930 Beverely Glen Circle, Bel Air
Saturday, October 20, Nola's, 734 East 3 St, Los Angeles
Sunday, October 21, Nola's, 734 East 3 St, Los Angeles

More details to follow!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Bay Area Schedule

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

Saturday, October 27: Berkeley CA: 8pm: Talk/Book signing and Andrew Speight-Ron Marabuto Quartet at Jazzschool.

Sunday, October 28: San Francisco: 3pm: Talk/book signing at Bird & Beckett.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Pepper Adams Event in Berkeley, California

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

On Saturday night, October 27 at 8pm, I'll be giving a presentation about Pepper Adams, and signing copies of my book, followed by a concert of Pepper's music by the Andrew Speight-Ron Marabuto Quartet.  All this is taking place at the Jazzschool, 2087 Addison St., Berkeley CA, 510 845 5373.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Pepper Adams Week (New York) Update

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

These bands are playing either Pepper Adams compositions or tunes that featured Pepper Adams:

Sunday, 9/23: Peter Leitch Duo, Walker's 7-11pm
Monday, 9/24: Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Village Vanguard, 9-12am
Friday, 9/28: Frank Basile Sextet, Smalls, 7:30-9:45.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pepper Adams Week (New York) Update

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

The schedule is starting to take shape:

Sunday, 9/23: Peter Leitch Duo, Walker's, 7-12am
Mon, 9/24: Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, 9-12am.

On Friday, 9/28 I'm taping an interview with Lewis Porter at Rutgers University for posting on YouTube, then doing a radio show in Princeton NJ with radio host/record producer Jerry Gordon.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pepper Adams Week in New York City

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

Starting the week of September 24 "Pepper Adams Week" will take place in New York City clubs, with concerts of Pepper Adams tunes being performed Monday-Saturday, 9/24-9/29.  The plan so far is for a wine reception/photo opp to take place for the press on Sunday night, 9/23, followed by a Monday night big band concert and live recording, then a series of small group gigs.  Various book signings, record release parties, lectures, and special events are also in the works.  Stay tuned for a complete itinerary of events.

Friday, February 3, 2012

International Celebration of Pepper Adams

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

Starting in August 2012, and lasting for three months, a series of concerts in cities around North America and Europe will take place in which bands will perform the compositions of Pepper Adams.  This is the greatest celebration of Pepper Adams that has ever taken place, and likely one of the most ambitious series of jazz concerts about one musician ever produced.  So far, performances are being scheduled in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Washington DC, Champaign/Urbana IL, Chicago, New York, Tarrytown NY, Toronto, and Montreal.  Other cities under discussion are Milwaukee, Rochester NY, Kansas City, Boston, Hartford, Amherst, Philadelphia, London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Oslo.  These gigs will coincide with the release of Gary Carner's book Pepper Adams' Joy Road: An Annotated Discography and the 6-CD box set Pepper Adams: Complete Compositions.  Radio/print interviews, wine receptions, and readings are also being set up in many of these locations.

Musicians performing Adams tunes:

Los Angeles: Dale Fielder
San Francisco: Ron Marabuto
Minneapolis/St. Paul: Phil Hey
New York: Frank Basile
Tarrytown NY: Alexis Cole
Washington: Brad Linde
Champaign/Urbana: Glenn Wilson
Chicago: Jeremy Kahn
London: Pete Lukas and Gary Smulyan
Toronto: Pat LaBarbera
Montreal: Andre White and Cameron Wallis

Stay tuned for the full schedule.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Dale Fielder to Perform the Entire Adams Songbook

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

Saxophonist Dale Fielder will be the first musician to ever play the entire oeuvre of Pepper Adams--all 43 compositions--in four concerts, tentatively scheduled for October 18-21 in Los Angeles.  Much like hearing the cycle of Shostakovich's string quartets over a few days, Fielder will perform, with a local rhythm section, Adams' challenging tunes, likely at three different clubs, though  probably not in chronological order.  These performances will give listeners a chance to hear the totality of Adams' compositional output and to buy the 6-CD box set Pepper Adams: Complete Compositions.  Signed copies of my newly published Pepper Adams' Joy Road: An Annotated Discography, at 40% off retail, will also for sale.  Stay tuned for more details on this historic event and on my North American and European book/CD tour.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Incomparable Pepper Adams

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

As part of my 6-CD box set project, here are the tunes I've proposed for a "Best of Pepper Adams" anthology.  My apologies to any triskaidekephobics out there, but it does fill up 80 full minutes  What do you think? 

1. Lotus Blossom   (Jimmy Witherspoon)
2. Chant   Donald Byrd (studio version, with Herbie and Doug Watkins)
3. Bossa Nova Ova  (Thad Jones-Pepper Adams)
4. East of the Sun  (Toots Thielemans)
5. Day Dream  (Pepper Adams-Donald Byrd)
6. Baptismal  (Stanley Turrentine)
7. Three and One  (Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra)
8. I've Just Seen Her  (Pepper Adams)
9. Gone With the Wind  (unreleased: Pepper Adams with strings)
10. Salt Peanuts  (Pony Poindexter)
11. Moanin'  (Charles Mingus)
12. Sophisticated Lady  (Donald Byrd)
13. That's All   (Pepper Adams)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Pepper Adams discography update

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

After 27 years, I've finally finished my discography of Pepper Adams. The manuscript, Pepper Adams' Joy Road: An Annotated Discography, has been submitted to Scarecrow Press for publication this summer.  Dan Morgenstern is writing the foreword, and I've asked Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Sonny Rollins, Phil Woods, and Quincy Jones to write endorsements.  The work, dedicated to Lewis Porter, is approximately 600 pages, covering the period 1947-1986.  Transcribed interview material is appended to many entries, and a centerfold of various media will be included.