Monday, April 1, 2019

Chapter Five is Done

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

Happy April Fools Day. I’m not the recipient of any pranks today, fortunately,
but I can say in all honesty that Chapter Five of my Pepper Adams biography
is basically finished. At 58 pages, it covers the following topics:

  1. The History of the Thad Jones-Pepper Adams Quintet
  2. Interlude: The 1960’s New York Scene
  3. Adams’ Work in Europe and Japan
  4. His Work as a Single, 1966-1977
  5. The Inception of the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra
  6. Thad/Mel’s First Japanese Tour, Management of the Band
  7. The Trip to Russia
  8. Sax Section Reformulation, Pepper’s Lack of Solos, Thad’s Influence
  9. The Duke Pearson Big Band
  10. Pepper’s Move to Canarsie, His Interest in Art
  11. The Nirvana Party
  12. Life in Greenwich Village
  13. Adams as an Educator

All that remains before I turn to researching and writing the “Listener’s Guide, 1964-1977,” is hearing

another eleven interviews on cassette and another 46 on microcassette. That’s about 100 hours of

documentation, just to be sure I didn’t miss anything of importance or make errors. I should be done

with that by early summer, at which point I’ll start listening to every Pepper solo that he made once he

joined forces again with Thad Jones in 1964. By year’s end, I expect to have that finished. Then I can

turn to writing the final chapter of the book. I expect to finishing by Christmas, 2020.

No news yet on when the first half of the biography will be posted at and available

for sale. That will happen this summer, but it will take some research to figure out the best e-book

provider. If anyone has any suggestions, please post your responses below.

Here’s a quote that I grabbed today from an interview I heard. I did this one with Andy McCloud,

the Newark-born bassist who worked with Elvin Jones from 1978-1983. About Pepper, he said:

“He rose above all the muck and mire of what cats have to go through with color, and all the barriers.
He busted them all because he could play, and didn’t give a fuck about who you were or your attitudes.
All the negative stuff, he seemed to just push aside, and that’s why I think everybody liked him. Also,
that’s the sign of a strong man or woman (or human). The fact that he played so good. He played jazz!
There were only a few white boys who could play like that.”

I may use the following in Chapter Six. It involves how Detroiters self-policed themselves, especially in
the post-1956 years, after the big influx of Detroit jazz musicians went east to New York:

Oliver Shearer was seven years older than Pepper and acted with him in a very paternal way. “He
used to get high. He got me high, not forcibly, but got me high to let me know what it was.
Because he and Tommy [Flanagan] were getting high, and they were laughing at me ‘cause I
would be pulling off this big father act. They’d laugh at me. So he finally let me know what is
was. Then, I didn’t bother them that much more about smoking. But anything else, they knew
that I made another kind of rule.

I wasn’t the only one. Milt Jackson was the same way. He called us up one night. Pepper and I
had a gig and somehow we showed up late. Milt found out that we were late. This cat called us
up [on] like a Sunday morning he called me up and said, ‘What did I hear about you being
late?’ This was just playing a simple gig out on Long Island or somewhere. We got lost, car
trouble, or whatever it was. I had to satisfy Milt that that’s what it was, and it wasn’t somebody
bullshitting around.” This was a Detroit thing, that they represented Detroit jazz players and
needed to be professional because it reflected on all Detroit jazz players, agreed Shearer.

I’ll be leaving for St. Louis on April 8th. On the 9th, I’m lecturing about Pepper at John Vana’s graduate
school class at Western Illinois University. After a few days of fun and frolic in Minneapolis, I’ll be
lecturing on April 15 at both the University of Wisconsin (Lacrosse) and Winona State University. On
the 17th, I’ll be speaking at Beloit College, then that night is the Anders Svanoe Quartet concert, plus
my brief book reading at Artlitlab (see below). On the 18th, I’ll be speaking at Northern Iowa University.
Then, a few more days of fun in the Twin Cities before I return home after the Easter weekend and get
back to listening to those interviews. Hopefully, I’lI see some of you on the road.