Saturday, July 26, 2014


© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

I'm happy to report that Glenn Wilson at the University of Illinois is currently working with engineer Paul Wickliffe to reinstate a few solos, edit one extra track (Doctor Deep) and master the big band date recorded last year of Adams' tunes. Once this is complete and the tunes are reordered, UI will be shopping it around to labels, now that Motema has suspended their Pepper Adams series. I'll update you as I learn more. As a fall-back plan, UI has their own label and can release it that way. Again, to all of you who contributed to the 2013 Kickstarter campaign, thanks so much for your support and patience. 

In case you were worried, Motema's five-volume digital set of Pepper's music and their physical Volume 5 CD (Alexis Cole Sings Pepper Adams) and Sampler (of the other four dates) are still in print and available. It's just that they will not continue building the series with new volumes.

A few other things are going on. Yesterday (Friday, July 25, 2014) Steve Cerra reprinted his lengthy profile of Pepper Adams in his important blog Jazz Profiles. His piece includes a transcript of Ben Sidran's marvelous 1986 interview with Pepper for NPR. You can listen to the interview at Along with the Pepper profile, Cerra also was very kind to reprint Dan Morgenstern's foreword and my preface to Pepper Adams' Joy Road. I'm very grateful to Steve for all the support he's given me and I look forward to his forthcoming review/interview.

Also forthcoming, Bert Vuijsje in The Netherlands will be reviewing my Pepper book in either Dutch or Flemish. Michael Steinman has also agreed to review it on his blog Jazz Lives.

I'm excited that in the next month or so the Greenville Jazz Collective Big Band, led by trombonist Brad Jepson, will be performing some Pepper charts I've commissioned. That's worth the three-hour roundtrip drive from Georgia! Also, Aaron Lington's big band chart on Pepper's sumptuous ballad Now in Our Lives has been completed and he's looking to get it recorded so it can be posted at Any takers?

Lastly, I've been invited to contribute a piece on Pepper Adams and Detroit for a collection of pieces on Detroit's musical history. It's being assembled by ML Liebler for Wayne State University Press, Pepper's alma mater.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Further Definitions: Pepper Adams with the Per Husby Trio, 1979

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

Thanks to drummer Espun Rud, who located his 1979 appointment book, I now have definitive information on Pepper Adams' 1979 tour of Norway with pianist Per Husby. Thanks too to Husby for forwarding me the data. Gaps below indicate venues that still remain unknown. It's also not known if the gigs of 23-24 March were done at the same place. A photo of the band is linked from the Chronology at and can be seen at's Photos section.

Mar 12: Queens NY: Adams flies to Norway by way of Stockholm. 
Mar 13: Stavanger, Norway: Per Husby gig at __________with Bjorn Alterhaug and Espen Rud. 
Mar 14: Stord, Norway: Per Husby gig at the Jazzforum, with Bjorn Alterhaug and Espen Rud. 
Mar 15: Bergen, Norway: Per Husby gig, with Bjorn Alterhaug and Espen Rud. 
Mar 16-18: Voss, Norway: Per Husby gig at the Voss Jazz Festival, with Atle Hammer, Bjorn Alterhaug and Espen Rud. 
Mar 19: Gjovik, Norway: Per Husby gig at Torvetten, with Bjorn Alterhaug and Espen Rud. 
Mar 20: Lillehammer, Norway: Per Husby gig at the Blue Note, with Bjorn Alterhaug and Espen Rud. 
Mar 21: Oslo: Per Husby gig at Club 7, with Atle Hammer, Bjorn Alterhaug and Espen Rud. 
Mar 22: Bodo: Per Husby gig at ____________, with Bjorn Alterhaug and Espen Rud. 
Mar 23: Tromso: Per Husby gig at ____________, with Bjorn Alterhaug and Espen Rud. 
Mar 24: Tromso: Per Husby gig at ____________, with Bjorn Alterhaug and Espen Rud. 
Mar 25: Trondheim, Norway: Per Husby gig at the Trubadur, with Bjorn Alterhaug and Espen Rud. 
Mar 26: Trondheim: Off day.
Mar 27: Kristiansund, Norway: Per Husby gig at _________, with Bjorn Alterhaug and Espen Rud.
Mar 28: Molde, Norway: Per Husby gig at Storyville, with Bjorn Alterhaug and Espen Rud. 
Mar 29: Orsta: Per Husby gig at Porse Jazzklubb, with Bjorn Alterhaug and Espen Rud. (Photo from Orsta)
Mar 30: Bergen, Norway: Travel day. Adams flies to Stockholm.
Mar 31: Stockholm: Unknown event or off day.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

What's New: The Latest on Pepper Adams' Joy Road

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

I got my annual royalty statement from Scarecrow Press. It covers the period through December 31, 2013. Even though 600 copies of Pepper Adams' Joy Road have been sold and the hardcover is nearly sold out, I still owe $500 to the publisher for outsourcing the index. That means that everything I've "earned" has gone to the indexer. 

I also learned that sales have completely flattened out in 2014. I could certainly use your help to get the word out about the book, keep it in the public eye, and get the balance paid off. Can you please post something on your Facebook and Twitter pages? How about a link on your website? Google+, bulletin boards such as Organissimo, or other social media avenues would be most appreciated. Anything that directs others to would invariably help too since the book is prominently displayed on the homepage. If you come up with a cool way to let people know about it, do let me know below in the form of a comment. That would give others options they might not have considered. 

Here's two links you can use. First, from, is the description on the book's back cover, with a link to Dan Morgenstern's foreword:

Next is the link to the book at

For my part, I'm pleased to let you know that a bunch of new reviews will be coming out. Steven Cerra will be writing a review and interviewing me for his esteemed blog Jazz Profiles: Michael Steinman, admittedly not a fan of post-war baritone playing, has agreed to review my book, assuming he likes it, for his very popular blog Jazz Lives: will be publishing an excerpt of my book, then doing a review. Matt Vashlishan is likely publishing an excerpt in The Note, the magazine produced by the Al Cohn Memorial Jazz Collection at East Stroudsburg University. I'm also promised by Cyril Moshkow a review in Jazz.Ru, the Russian jazz magazine. Thanks to all for keeping Pepper Adams alive!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Road to Ruin

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

Happy Independence Day everyone! Yesterday, on the Fourth of July, I conducted a groundbreaking interview with Al Gould, the author of Boots on the Ground with Music in My Hands. I wrote about his book in last week's post and first on May 24 but I finally had the good fortune of speaking with him. Gould's insights into that time are extraordinary! As luck would have it, Gould was in the same traveling platoon (Platoon #2) as Pepper and much new information about that period was discovered in our one hour conversation.  First, here's a link to Gould's memoir:
Gould wrote a very good overview of the history of the 10th Special Service Company, not fully included in his book, that I'll post here:
"The original concept of establishing highly trained entertainers for completely mobile shows under very adverse conditions was the idea of Captain Josh Logan, who had served in Germany during World War II. The 10th Special Service Company was started in Guam in 1944 and Josh was joined a year later by a Department of the Army Civilian (DAC), Margaret "Skippy" Lynn. Both had excellent backgrounds in the entertainment field. Logan went on to write and direct the Broadway musicals Annie Get Your Gun, South Pacific, Fanny and others, working with Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein. Lynn, a dancer and Dance Captain with the Radio City Rockettes in New York, appeared on Broadway in the musicals Oklahoma, Carousel and as the ingenue lead with Ethel Merman in Something for the Boys. 
The headquarters of the 10th Special Service Company moved from Guam to Hawaii, then Japan and, finally, in April 1951, to Korea. Because of extremely difficult combat conditions, travel by civilian entertainers in Korea was limited. On the other hand, fine entertainment was eagerly sought by troops as an essential morale booster. These two factors combined to generate the development of touring soldiers of superior quality. In order to do the job, these traveling units needed to be self-contained and capable of performing under the most adverse circumstances while maintaining professional stage presence and soldierly conduct.
When a member of one of the top dance bands of the day (Tommy Dorsey, Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, etc) during the Korean War was drafted or enlisted, he would end up with the 10th Special. This also included celebrity singers, such as Eddie Fisher, comedians, and specialty entertainers. 
The 10th Special Service Company had four platoons. Three were show platoons on the road, plus a Headquarters Platoon. The three show platoons each had about thirty members. The shows were trained in Japan and entered Korea at different times. I was a member of the 2nd Platoon. The 2nd entered Korea in October 1951 and was called "Take 10." It became the "Road to Ruin" Show in October 1952, which I became a part of in early January 1953. 
The 10th was deactivated in July 1955. Skippy Lynn remained a DAC until 1978, continuing shows that were called Army Showmobile Units. They serviced the Berlin and Cuban crises, plus she produced Army competitions worldwide to obtain members for the Showmobile units."
Besides his history of the 10th Special Service Company, Gould also sent me several photographs. One is a shot of the USS Walker, the troop ship that both he and Pepper Adams took from San Francisco to Japan on their way to Korea. Gould pointed out in our interview that he left for Japan on October 25 and Pepper would've left very early that October. 
A second photo he sent me was of Kim Byung Joo, the sixteen-year-old house boy who worked at the Headquarters of the 10th Special Service Company in Seoul. Gould said that Joo was extremely intelligent and spoke perfect English. All attempts so far to locate Joo have been unsucessful, in part because his name is incredibly common. Joo is an important figure because Pepper addressed to Joo a very long letter in the form of a diary while returning to the US from Korea after his tour of duty concluded. It's the longest document I've found written by Pepper and it will be discussed in my forthcoming biography. Pepper had very strong paternal feelings for Joo, as I think most of the 2nd Platoon also felt.
Another photo shows some of the performers of the 2nd Platoon in their costumes and with a caption identifying their names: Jerry Lehmeier, Alfred (Mack) Sanders, Frank Horner, Al Lamo, Al Gould, Duke Duberry, Bob Weiss, Harry Fallon, Park (Pepper) Adams, Neal Brodie, Al Masco, Kenneth Barner and Fred Haney.
A fourth photograph is a spectacular color photograph of the band in performance in Korea in 1953 that I'll be including in the biography. Some of the entertainers in this photo, in Army fatigues, are different from the one above in their show costumes. Nevertheless, this amazing photo captures in vivid detail exactly what the 2nd Platoon was all about: performing at a makeshift stage in a rugged terrain straight out of a Hollywood Western, surrounded by trucks that transported the troop and gear.
Next week I'll discuss the contents of my interview with Gould and I'll be updating Pepper's chronology from that period. Among other things, Gould mentioned that the 2nd Platoon did a command performance for the President of Korea at the Presidential Palace and they also did a recording. Lots to report!