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
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
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.