Monday, July 1, 2019

Lost Pepper Adams?

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.


My June was dominated by proof-reading the first half of my Pepper Adams biography for publication.

It’s now leaner and in much better shape. I have another fifty pages of Chapter Three to proof. Then, I’m

putting it to bed until the end of the year, when I’ll read it once more before making it available.

One of my readers suggested that I cut some of my discussion of the Duke Pearson Big Band within

Chapter Six. That’s now been accomplished. For the same chapter, another reader asked me to explore

rock in the 1960s, and how that affected Thad/Mel and jazz at large. That will take me a little time, for sure.

My reader also suggested that I place my “Listener’s Guide, 1977-1986” within the text, not as an

appendix. So it’s likely going to be the new Chapter Five. Consistent with that, I’ll craft the “Listener’s

Guide, 1964-1977” as Chapter Seven. 

Thanks to the podcasts offered by the Author’s Guild, I’ve been researching mailing lists, contracts, and

(soon) piracy issues. I’ve yet to select an e-book vendor, but I’m edging closer and closer.

I may invite someone to write a foreword. That remains to be seen. Any suggestions? I’d love to get

Herbie Hancock or Chick Corea to write it, but they’re so hard to reach.

I’ve gotten through 17 of my remaining 50 interviews that I need to finish before I can turn to writing

Chapter Six, my final one.

Sometime in 2008 or so, I had lunch with an old New Jersey neighbor at Universal Music Group. After

hanging out and having lunch, he promised me that he would get from their Los Angeles vaults the

masters to Pepper’s four Motown tracks (arranged by Thad Jones) and the unreleased Motown date done

by Marcus Belgrave. He asked me to follow up. Follow up I did, about twenty times over the course of two

or three years. I never heard back. Now, the truth about Universal’s epic fire has final come to light, and I

can only suppose that this is why he never got back to me. The word among management was to keep news

of the fire a secret. See the article “The Day the Music Burned”:

Although the master to these dates have likely been destroyed, fortunately this music survives:


Recorded at Sanders Recording Studio. The correct title is “Azure-Te.”
This date is likely destroyed, due to the catastrophic Universal Music Group fire of June 1, 2008, where the master was stored.


What follows is a list of all of the now-believed lost or destroyed Pepper Adams recordings that recent

research has uncovered. These updates have been made to Discography Updates: at While a few of

these dates are known to be destroyed, others may still exists. Hopefully, bringing these sessions to the

attention of the public will increase any possibility of their eventual discovery.

New Entry (Broadcasts and Recordings That No Longer Survive):
cmid April 1953, audience recording, Korea: Pepper Adams bs; Al Gould accordion; other musicians.

According to Al Gould, a complete one-hour show of the band in performance was recorded sometime in April. “I believe what

was recorded,” says Gould, “was not a typical whole show with all of the specialty entertainers. It was more likely the Show

Band playing a blend of styles of a few well-known uptempo show tunes, plus ballads of the day, with an emcee (not Al Lamo).

Pepper would have been definitely featured on one or more songs. The original recording or the only known copy has been long

gone since the person who had it can longer be found.”

New Entry (Broadcasts and Recordings That No Longer Survive):
28 March 1955, Institute of Arts, Detroit: Sonny Stitt ts; Pepper Adams bs; Kenny Burrell g; Tommy
Flanagan p; Bill Burrell e-b; Hindal Butts dm. 

From For years I’ve wondered about the eighth entry in Pepper Adams’ Joy Road.
I first learned about that mysterious 1955 live recording from a concert program I found in Pepper Adams' materials. Program
notes written by drummer Rudy Tucich referred to a live recording with a numbing array of Detroit's finest musicians. What
happened to it? Now, thanks to Tucich, I finally have some news.On 28 March 1955 the New Music Society produced a
spectacular concert at the Detroit Institute of Arts to showcase its members. Tucich and singer/vibist Oliver Shearer, co-officers
of the Society with Kenny Burrell, invited many of the greatest players then living in Detroit to participate in the concert,
including Burrell, Tommy Flanagan, Pepper Adams, Barry Harris, Curtis Fuller, Elvin Jones, Yusef Lateef, Bernard McKinney
and Sonny Red. Detroit elders Sonny Stitt and Milt Jackson, not Society members per se, were invited as very special guests.
“This concert,” wrote Tucich, “is being recorded and will be the first release on our own label, Free Arts Records. Your
cooperation in the recording will be greatly appreciated. We would also like to have you give us your suggestion for the
name of our first concert album.” In 1955 most of the musicians at the concert performed on Tuesday nights at the World Stage.
The World Stage was a theater above Paperback Unlimited at the northwest corner of Woodward Avenue and Davison. On
weekends, World Stage put on plays. Lily Tomlin was one of its actors. Early in the week, however, the theater was dark, so a
perfect venue for the New Music Society's members to have sessions.
The Society recorded the 28 March concert on three ten-inch reels. A quintet comprised of Pepper Adams, Kenny Burrell,
Tommy Flanagan, Billy Burrell and Hindall Butts opened with a tune based on the changes of Undecided, then performed
Afternoon in Paris. After Flanagan's trio feature on Dancing in the Dark, the quintet returned to play Someday, If Not in Heaven
(with Kenny Burrell singing!) and Woody'n You. A local group, The Counterpoints, performed three numbers before Sonny
Stitt's quintet (with Curtis Fuller, Barry Harris, Alvin Jackson and Elvin Jones) performed Loose Walk, a ballad medley (I Can't
Get Started, If I Should Lose You, Embraceable You and Lover Man) and a closing blues.
After a likely intermission, Oliver Shearer gave a speech about the New Music Society, then Kenny Burrell introduced Yusef
Lateef's ensemble. Lateef, Bernard McKinney, Sonny Red, Barry Harris, Alvin Jackson and Elvin Jones played four tunes: Wee,
Three Storys, a ballad medley (This Love of Mine, But Not for Me and Darn that Dream) and a closing blues. 
After two tunes by pianist Jerry Harrison and three by pianist Bu Bu Turner, Sonny Stitt returned with Milt Jackson, Kenny
Burrell, Barry Harris, Alvin Jackson and Elvin Jones to finish out the show. They stretched out on Billie's Bounce, then did
Stardust and an ending blues. 
Oh, to hear this music! What happened to it? Tucich told me a week ago that he and Barry Harris decided to mail the tapes to a
guy in Los Angeles, who would edit the tapes and transfer them to LPs for release. Did they think to make a backup copy?
No. “It never occurred to us. We were naive,” admits Tucich. Woefully, the engineer went bankrupt and, after a concerted
attempt to track him down and rescue the tapes, Tucich and Harris finally admitted that the material was lost. “I've waited 60
years to find out about them,” said Tucich. “Hopefully, it will turn up. Weirder things have happened.”

New Entry (Broadcasts and Recordings That No Longer Survive):
3 August 1958, Great South Bay Jazz Festival, Great River NY: Pepper Adams bs; Kenny Burrell g; George
Duvivier b; Elvin Jones dm.

a Charlie Parker tune United Artists unissued
b Benny Golson tune
c Sonny Rollins tune

According to a 6 September 1958 article in Cash Box (see, United Artists recorded
this live date for the first of three releases for the new label. It remains unissued. Other tunes were likely recorded. The Golson
and Rollins tunes may be Stablemates and Oleo respectively.
According to Michael Cuscuna, “UA’s surviving tapes was very spotty. There was absolutely no trace of a live Pepper Adams
date nor any outtakes for the great live albums that they did do (Randy Weston, Al & Zoot etc). The only thing I can be sure of
is that there is absolutely no trace in the tape vaults.”


This date is likely destroyed, due to the catastrophic Universal Music Group fire of June 1, 2008, where the master was stored.
Bennie Maupin, in a 2014 email to me and a subsequent interview, said: “For the record, please note that Pepper is absolutely
one of my many early Detroit influences. As a matter of fact, he was prominently featured on the very first professional recording
of my career. It took place in Detroit at a place known for presenting decades of great music: The Graystone Ballroom. The
featured artist was master/mentor trumpeter Marcus Belgrave. Others featured were pianist Kirk Lightsey, bassist Cecil McBee,
trombonist George Bohanon, and a great drummer who left us much to soon, George Goldsmith. It was just a wonderful moment
because we were right there recording everything on the ballroom floor. The Graystone Ballroom was quite beautiful. I heard a
lot of live music there, with Count Basie’s Orchestra, Dinah Washington, various bands that came through. . . It was great
moment for me to be in that circle of musicians.”

Correction (Broadcasts and Recordings That No Longer Survive):

This date is likely destroyed, due to the catastrophic Universal Music Group fire of June 1, 2008, where the master was stored.
See 630620.

Correction (Broadcasts and Recordings That No Longer Survive):
PEPPER ADAMS, page 511

The August, 1982 recording date is in conflict with the session’s 790716 alphanumeric code. Although the drummer believes the date took place in August, 1982, Pepper’s chronology for that time makes that impossible. The original 16 July 1979 date is more likely because that’s the date when Pepper first wrote “Binary” that they recorded at that session. “Papamutt” is the nickname for the French drummer Philippe Briand.