Sunday, August 5, 2018

July's Pepper Activities

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

I'm very proud to report that just last night I put the finishing touches on Part I of my Pepper Adams biography. Called "Ascent," it loosely covers the first half of Pepper's life, from birth until his move to New York City in early 1956. Although this may imply that the book is a chronologically arranged narrative, that's definitely not the case. Instead, my approach is thematic in nature. I zig-zag across his life where appropriate. For example, I open the book with his epiphany in Detroit, when, as a teenage, he heard Charlie Parker at the Mirror Ballroom. Then I trace how Pepper got back to Detroit from Rochester, New York, after which I discuss his time in Detroit until he enlists in the U.S Army. In sum, the first part of the book covers Pepper from age seventeen until twenty or so before I even get to his Army experience. In Chapter Two I discuss his paternal lineage and his time as a child in Rochester. His Army experience opens Chapter Three, Ascent's final section, followed by quite a long discussion of his Detroit experience in the 1950s, his maternal background, and why Detroit was such an extraordinary place for jazz.

One reason it took another month to wrap up Part I is that I was waiting for my last reader to critique my final draft of Chapter Three and the Prologue. On Friday I finished incorporating my reader's various suggestions to both. Yesterday and today I improved the Prologue's content and added a new paragraph, describing how Pepper Adams has become a spiritual calling for me. Finally, I can truly say that it's time to move on to Part II ("Dominion"), after sixteen months of work. That, of course, won't keep me from peeking at the Prologue a few more times to make sure that I'm totally happy with it.

Also, this past month I was able to finish the very tedious job of transforming what was formerly my set of footnotes into a section retitled "Sources." Now my quotes are more properly placed in the back of the book. This is the modern way of listing attributions, so as to not disturb the reading experience. I've found that this approach also prevents me from submerging somewhat arcane information that didn't quite fit into the text somewhere else in the book. Oh, well.

I'm also pleased to tell you that quite a few upgrades were made in July to First, an update to my Byrd-Adams Quintet piece was posted. It includes new information on when the two first played together in Detroit. It was with the Charles Johnson band, by the way, and only for a short period of time. See

I've also added part of the analysis section from my Tufts University masters thesis in Articles: You'll see how I attempted to qualify a bunch of Pepper solos. It was my thesis director, T.J. Anderson's, idea to do it in this manner.

The biography/musical study in progress now has its own book icon. You'll see it at at directly under Pepper Adams' Joy Road. If you click through, you can access music examples that I'm discussing in Part I of the book. Listed already in boldface are Pepper's earliest recorded baritone solos (Hugh Jackson) and his very first recorded clarinet solo (Oliver Shearer) from 1947 when he was sixteen! New material will continue to be added so please check it out!

Three other additions have been made to the site in July. The first Disco Update in over a year has been posted:

The Dedications page is almost complete:

And my extensive history of Detroit, formerly written for the Pepper biography, has been posted: 

Have a great rest of the summer!