Thursday, October 24, 2013

Meeting Tony Faulkner

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

In the Spring of 2012 my Pepper Adams book, Pepper Adams' Joy Road, was finally completed, after more than 25 years of research.  At that time, I was also finishing liner notes for Motema to get the 5-CD set of Pepper's music ready for release in the Fall.  The overarching strategy was to co-brand the book and CD series as "Joy Road," then release them at the same time and promote them with a book and CD tour.

I built an ambitious, four month, 40-city tour throughout the US and Canada (including one week at major clubs in New York), lecturing at colleges and book stores, and overseeing concerts of Pepper's music.  It was really a fantastic time--one of my life's highlights!  Most of the bands were small groups, but some were large aggregations that played big band arrangements of Pepper tunes that I had commissioned.  The commissions were started the preceding year in anticipation of the tour, and with an eye towards a big-band CD as Volume 6 of my Motema series.

One of the arrangers that provided big band charts is the esteemed Frank Griffith, an old friend who now lives in London. Griffith was only able to do two charts, but knew that I needed at least enough material to do a CD.  He recommended that I contact a colleague, Tony Faulkner, who lives in Leeds, England.  He thought Faulkner would enjoy participating in my project.  Griffith said, "I can not recommend him highly enough," and that was enough praise for me.

I emailed Faulkner, and he wrote back saying that he was delighted to get involved. Little did I know that he was retired and one of Thad Jones' greatest disciples.  In the ensuing 18 months, Faulkner would throw himself heart and soul into the project, doing 21 big band arrangements of Pepper's compositions; an original 20-minute suite (Park Frederick III) dedicated to Adams, built on themes from Pepper's tunes; as well as 11 tentet charts on Pepper's tunes.  For some, this is the output of an entire lifetime!  Faulkner's dedication and brilliant work was so inspiring that I produced Volume 6 entirely of his arrangements, then joined with drummer Tim Horner to produce a second CD of Faulkner's work for tentet, that will be recorded in a few weeks, live in New York and New Jersey.

This Saturday I'll go into more specifics about tunes, concerts, and the details of the upcoming tour.  Please see my post "Tony and Ernie" from 8/24/13, an amusing two-day travelogue about the recording of Volume 6.

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