Sunday, May 2, 2021

Pepper Doings, April 2021

 
















Before signing off on Chapter Three, my account of

Adams’s experience in the US Army, I decided to send

my final draft to a reader for his feedback. Although this

is one of my shortest chapters, I think I’ve been dealing

with this material for such a long time that perhaps I’ve

lost some perspective. Hopefully he’ll agree that it’s in

OK shape and, apart from some minor changes, I can

finally put it to bed.


I started a demanding full-time job five weeks ago and

my progress on the book has been slowed down. I still

think I’m on track to publish in September, but the most

important thing is to ensure that it’s in the best shape

that I can muster.


I’m excited to report that a very significant cache of

Pepper tapes and interviews have recently been trans-

ferred to a producer/musician who is restoring them,

releasing some of it to the public, and making all of it

available to me for study. Although I can’t yet reveal

the source of the material or its newfound recipient,

I’ve been aware of the collection for over thirty years

and am so excited that I’ll soon have a chance to

analyze the material and consider it for inclusion in

the biography. Typically, all of Pepper’s interviews

yield gems, so it’s likely that I’ll discover something

new for the book. 


The Adams discography has been updated with new

discoveries: https://www.pepperadams.com/JoyRoad/DiscoUpdates.pdf 


Yesterday I had a wonderful conversation with the

eminent blogger Michael Steinman. He’s perhaps the

first person who really understands what I’ve tried to

do with the narrative structure of the biography, and

who has the breadth of knowledge about the subject

to truly grasp how I tried to diverge from the typical birth-

to-grave, tragedy or romance, cliched approach. After

our call, he wrote this wonderful blurb that I’ll be using

as advance praise

(https://www.pepperadams.com/Reflectory/AdvancePraise.pdf):


Most jazz biographies are predictable chronologies of gigs

and recordings, friendships and rivalries, kindness and cruelty.

We know how they start; we know how they end. Carner’s

admiring multi-dimensional portrait of Pepper Adams is a

delightful corrective. Irresistibly, it floats from story to story.

I couldn't wait to find out what happens next. Even if readers

know Pepper only as a bracing, lovely sound, before we are

ten pages in we are happily encountering him as a fully-

rounded person, reading Yeats, eating ribs, impatient with

cliche, searching and finding wherever he goes. It takes lung

power to play the baritone saxophone: this biography has the

breath of life.   

 

Michael Steinman

Author, Jazz Lives blog

 


Next weekend I’ll get a jump on Chapter Four corrections.

Happy springtime. 



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