Monday, June 3, 2019

Biography Update

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.


It’s been a busy month. Updating the entire Pepper Adams Interviews section of took a ton of time, mostly because I needed to listen to all of

them again in their entirety. I wanted to be sure that I didn’t overlook any important

facts that Pepper mentioned which might be a valuable addition to my Adams

biography. Also, it was necessary to add some mouse-over text for the user and fix

some previous errors. As of now, all fourteen interviews have been posted. All that

remains is seeing if we can improve the digital skips in the John Reid interview.

For several weeks, on and off, I’ve continued to wrestle with the opening section of

Chapter One of the Pepper bio. I just wasn’t entirely happy with it. I think now I’ve got it

where I want it.

I’m happy too with the rest of Chapter 1, and 4, and I’ve been editing Chapters 2 and 3.

Moreover, I’ve rewritten the Prologue and that’s done.

I did finish going through a stack of notes and quotations from various interviews that I

did with Johnny Griffin, Bill Watrous, Bill Perkins and others. Now that the pile of info is

sorted out, I’ve turned to my 46 microcassettes (as much as 92 hours of interview) that I

need to hear before I feel comfortable that I’ve gotten everything that I need from them.

Once finished, probably by early September, I can edit Chapter 5 and move on to Chapter

6, my final chapter.

Regarding Chapter 6, I already have 60 pages of notes and an outline. I’m hoping I can

breeze through it, then make some valuable concluding comments.

As for the publishing the first half of the bio soon, I think that this will be pushed ahead to

early next year. I just have too much work to do before I get to that point. Before it’s done,

I’ll be establishing a mailing list, very long overdue, at

Below are some recent interview excerpts I hope you enjoy that I’ve added to my notes:

Pepper Adams to Ben Sidran:

“If you play everything legato, and don’t use the tongue -- and don’t outline where the
note is going to hit -- everything tends to run together because it is lower pitched. It has
no rhythmic impact, or impulse, behind it. I’ve tried to use a legato tongue so that there
is differentiation between the notes. I’ve tried to do a lot with articulation because that
has a lot to do with what the time feeling is going to be. And, if you fail to articulate on
baritone, or particularly on lower pitched instrument, it is going to be one constant rumble
after a while.”

Bill Watrous to Gary Carner:
“Every time he played, it was an adventure,” said Bill Watrous. “His ideas, and his
conception of the stuff that he was trying to play, was totally original. I would say, more
so than anybody else [who] ever played that instrument.”

“Pepper had an angularity about his playing, like a jagged sort of approach, that was very
much like the way Sonny Rollins approaches the instrument. Sonny goes at the instrument
from all angles -- from the left, from the right, and under, and goes that way. Pepper,
basically, did the same thing. Pepper had incredible technique. Pepper didn’t just run the
changes. Pepper played all over the changes. I think they sort of approached their music
from a similar direction.”

“The sense of humor was amazing! Pepper would play: I found myself laughing to myself a
lot when Pepper would play some of the things he would play.”

Bill Perkins to Gary Carner:
“He’s one of the true giants of jazz. He stood out in that rare group of jazz soloists, the great giants
of all time, people like Bird and Prez. And John Coltrane has become that. I think that Pepper was
that on his instrument. And Diz. They’re in an area where very few have done the creative work that
they’ve done.”

Johnny Griffin to Gary Carner:
“He was never a pushy person. Maybe that’s what kept him from being more of a giant, as
far as the public is concerned, because he was never aggressive.”

Ron Kolber to Gary Carner:
“He would send me a tune, an old tune,” said Ron Kolber. “Every time we’d see each other, he’d
say, ‘You know this one?’ We used to try to stump each other with old tunes. One his favorite tunes
was a tune by the name of ‘Says My Heart.’ It’s an old tune. Always digging for old tunes; that was a
little hobby with him. He said that some of the early tunes were really great. . . . He had great interest
in the old-timers. Any of the old-timers. He would listen to all of the old records. He said, ‘That’s where
we’re from.’ He said, ‘If we listen to that, we’re gonna get to where we are, and maybe beyond, but
you can’t start in the middle and go. You gotta go all the way back.’”

Finally, here’s three clips of tunes that Anders Svanoe performed at his recent concert dedicated to
Pepper, and a video of Pepper conducting an after-concert interview: