Saturday, May 30, 2015

Thad, Etc.

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

Here's a really nice note I received this week, completely out of the blue:

Hi, my name is Dave Schiff. My father had a jazz workshop in Wilmington, Delaware that he put together in the late 1960s to the mid '70s. In the early years he had many of the members of the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra come down and work with the students (including myself) for a week. Pepper Adams and I became pretty close friends during that time. I had the opportunity to study with him and hang out with him. I have some cassette tapes of some of the clinic concerts with Pepper Adams performing. They are some of my most cherished things. I am in the middle of reading your book and find myself hearing his voice as I am reading the quotes of his. I would be interested in sharing the tapes if you would be interested. Pepper was a great influence in my playing and a good friend. Thank you for your time and consideration, and, most of all, bringing attention to this wonderful musician and human being.
Dave Schiff

Of course, when someone like that reaches out for me, I follow up. I'll be speaking with Schiff tomorrow by phone. I've already learned that at least one tape exists of Pepper with Roland Hanna, Wayne Andre and a few student musicians. (See photo below.) Schiff is looking for other tapes. I also asked if he knew whether Pepper taught at his dad's Wilmington Music School in 1971, 1972 and 1973. So far, there's no record of it in Pepper's materials. Also, Schiff's father was responsible for producing Thad-Mel at The Playhouse in Wilmington, 1967. I'm trying to see if that was recorded.

Speaking of Thad Jones, this week I posted a large update to the Thaddeus chronology (1965-1977) at The thrust of my research was to identify those tunes in Thad-Mel's baritone book in which Pepper would have been asked to play either clarinet or bass clarinet parts. I was motivated by the recent YouTube video posting of Central Park North (1969). Pepper is seen playing clarinet in one part of the performance. 

Here's a link to the new section of the chronology and the link to the video of Three and One from the same 1969 concert as Central Park North, with dazzling solos by Thad and Pepper:

While working my way through YouTube today I discovered a few videos of the band that are new to me. First, is a performance of Thad-Mel in Nice, at the picturesque setting of Les Jardin des Arenes de Cimiez. Recorded by RF TV on 15 July 1977, what a magnificent television production of the band!; clearly the finest video quality of any film that exists of the band to date. Tunes: Evol Deklaw Ni, It Only Happens Every Time, 61st and Richard, and Ambiance.

The second video is this dazzling vocal chart by Thad Jones, Route 66: 

Can you believe how harmonically adventurous it is? It was recorded in Denmark in very late July or early August, 1977, Pepper's last tour with the band.

While we're on the topic of vocal charts--often overlooked in Thad's oeuvre--check out this brilliant performance by Dee Dee Bridgewater and the band doing Bye Bye Blackbird from a TV brodcast from Tokyo on 26 February 1974:

Also discovered today on YouTube are three performances by the band at Montreux on 5 July 1974:

I Love You: 

Blues in a Minute: 

Sorry if they're not showing up as links. I'm still struggling with that. Please paste them into your browser and enjoy. They'll also be included in the next update of "Thaddeus."

                       Photo (c) Dave Schiff, 20 June 1974. Left to right: Roland Hanna p; Don
                     Schiff b; Wayne Andre tb; Dave Schiff ts; unknown dm; Pepper Adams bs.

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