Saturday, April 25, 2015

Biography Updates and Those Dusty 10-Inchers

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

Now that the Prologue to Pepper's biography is finally put to bed, I've turned to Chapter 1. This week I had a breakthrough of sorts and things started to flow. My first draft is just a few pages so far, but with notes that will lead to more.

The Prologue is my argument for why a reader should read the book. It's intended for those not familiar with Pepper Adams or those who need a kick in the pants to pony up a few bucks to buy it.

As happy as I am about Chapter 1, I'm especially pleased to report that Pepper's closest friend and Best Man, Ronald Ley, has agreed to write the Foreword. Ley (quoted in my Prologue; see the blog post of 11 March 2015) is a retired psychology professor from SUNY-Albany. He's a very fine writer and has been instrumental in proofing my drafts. No one knew Pepper better than Ron Ley. I expect the Foreword to be an important contribution in its own right.

The distinguished musicologist Andrew Homzy had already agreed to write the Foreword but Ley is 85 years old. It's an opportunity too important to pass up. Alternatively, I've asked Andrew to consider writing an Epilogue. Why an epilogue, you might wonder? I especially like the idea because the reader will be taken from my 100-page bio to John Vana's 100-page discussion of Pepper's saxophone playing. An epilogue would unify both parts, bringing the reader back full circle to the Prologue and bio, with a chance to make some strong concluding comments. 

Homzy would be able to make some important historical observations about Pepper and respond, as an accomplished musician, to some of the things that John Vana will be making. Homzy's reach is broad. He's familiar with the entire history of jazz and many other genres of music too. I hope he can write it.

Book updates aside, I thought I'd amuse myself this week by beginning a list of Pepper's 78s and 10-inch LP collections. Every time I do a seemingly pedantic task like this, I learn something suprisingly new about Pepper. 

For those of you interested in what 10-inchers Pepper kept in his collection, here's the list of his classical recordings first. (I'll address the jazz stuff next week.) I've included all of them, except for two that weren't germane. I'm interested to hear what you think of these. From what I can tell, some of them were copywritten (= released?) around 1949-51, when Pepper was 18-21 years old, prior to his induction in the Army. I suspect they were kept at his mother's home and he took them, with her piano, furniture and other belongings in 1972 after her death, when he moved into his house at 8715 Avenue B in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn.

Adam, Giselle
Bartok, Allegro Barbaro
Bartok, Bagatelle No. 2
Bartok, Burlesque No. 2
Bartok, Contrasts
Bartok, Portrait, Op. 5, No. 1
Bartok, Music for String Instruments, Percussion and Celesta
Bartok, Rhapsody No. 1
Bartok, Roumanian Dance
Bartok, Suite
Berg, Lyric Suite
Berg, Wozzeck
Bliss, Miracle in the Gorbals
Bliss, String Quartet No. 2
Bowles, Concerto for Two Pianos, Winds and Percussion
Bowles, Sonata for Two Pianos
Copeland, Four Dance Episodes from Rodeo
Copeland, El Salon Mexico
Debussy, Prelude to the Afternoon of a Fawn
DeFalla, Suite Popular Espangole
Dukas, The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Harris, Symphony No. 3
Hindemith, Mathis der Maler
Hindemith, String Quartet #4
Hindemith, Sonata
Hindemith, Symphonic Dances
Hindemith, Theme and Four Variations
Honnegger, Concertino for Piano and Orchestra
Ibert, Ports of Call
Milhaud, Carnaval a la Nouvelle-Orleans
Milhaud, Concerto No. 1 for Piano and Orchestra
Milhaud, La Creation du Monde
Milhaud, The Nothing Doing Bar
Milhaud, Les Songs
Milhaud, Suite Francaise
Milhaud, Symphony #1
Piston, Symphony #2
Prokofiev, Concerto No. 2
Ravel, Le Tombeau de Couperin
Sessions, The Black Maskers
Sessions, Symphony No. 2
Schoenberg, Song of the Wood Dove
Schuman, American Festival Overture
Stravinsky, Cinq Pieces Facilies
Stravinsky, The Firebird Suite
Stravinsky, Mass
Stravinsky, Piano Concerto
Stravinsky, Sonato for Two Pianos
Thomson, Five Portraits
Thomson, Louisiana Story
Villa Lobos, Bachianas Brasileiras No. 2
Villa Lobos, Choros No. 10
Williams, Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra

                                                        (Arthur Honneger, 1952)

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