Saturday, February 8, 2014

End of the Book

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

I heard from Lewis Porter about a week ago. Lewis has for so many years served as a mentor to me. If I have a question about the efficacy or mechanics of a jazz project, I always turn first to him. I can't even begin to mention how his guidance in the last few years shaped the final design of my Pepper Adams annotated discography Pepper Adams' Joy Road.

This time around I needed advice on how to publish my upcoming Pepper anthology. Lewis reminded me in an email, "The era of the book is over! Time to face it!" I suspected enough but needed to hear it from him to get perspective on what others in the field have been doing. Scarecrow Press, for their part, was interested in a book proposal from me, but my editor warned me that the Press could only publish it in hardcover and that the price would be $75 or more. 

My primary desire has always been to expose as many people as possible to Pepper's great body of work. Not having the anthology available in paperback and the idea of only getting it sold to 150 libraries doesn't make sense. Accordingly, the upcoming Pepper Adams anthology will be an e-book sold at, and elsewhere. This will ensure that everyone worldwide, especially musicians and fans, are able to buy the work and that it stays as affordable as possible. 

I'm very pleased with the enthusiasm that many of the authors have exhibited thus far. The book will be comprised almost exclusively of newly written pieces done by jazz musicians. I'm after as many perspectives as possible and I'm eager to break new ground about Pepper's musical contribution.

I'm also considering including some things that I've already written about Pepper. A handful of interview excerpts from my Pepper book are probably the most relevant. One quote from Hank Jones about Pepper's genius is especially gripping. Frankly, I'm far too busy with my day job to write something new. Editing, formatting, and marketing the eBook will take plenty of time as it is!

The first piece to be submitted will be Detroit bassist Ken Kellett's reminiscence. He will discuss the Detroit jazz scene of the 1940s, '50s and '60s and the importance of jazz elders to Detroit's great music tradition. He will also write about his experiences playing with and hanging out with Pepper. He knew Pepper quite well so this should be a fascinating and amusing piece.

I'm particularly honored to announce that the esteemed composer, arranger, and Ellington and Mingus scholar Andrew Homzy has agreed to write the foreword. 


  1. All of these books and possible re-issue updates sound great! There is one thing I've always thought of-not just of Pepper, but many other great musicians: what ever happened to there horn(s)? Who has Harry Carney's Baris? (the low Bb and low A)...etc etc. Silly I realize, but for some reason I've always wondered...

  2. I know that the Institute of Jazz Studies has Pepper's horn (but not his Berg Larsen mouthpiece) because I was asked by the Estate to deliver it. There's an IJS catalog of their instrument collection, and the collection toured the world. I don't know about Carney's horn.