Sunday, September 4, 2022

Paperback Edition


Not a post since May? Gosh, where did the time go? I hope

everyone had a great summer. I’ve been caught up getting

the paperback edition of Reflectory ready for publication,

plus satisfying my publisher’s requirements in order to

acquire their contract. It was quite a lengthy task.

I’m pleased to announce that SUNY (State University of

New York) Press has agreed to publish the paperback

edition of my Pepper Adams biography. As I mentioned in

the Author’s Note to Reflectory,academic presses limit jazz books to around 250 pages.

Thus, Pepper Adams: Saxophone Trailblazer, will be a

highly abridged version of Reflectory, quite a different book. 

Stripped down to its essentials, a great deal of detail has been deleted. Many photographs from the Estate of Pepper Adams have been removed, replaced by only a few photographs and documents. The most glaring difference is the removal of all 450 music links and discussion of much of that music.

Nevertheless, I’m excited to have a chance to get a hardcopy version out to the public. Plus, the ebook edition will remain in print and available. I see it as the best of both worlds; a great opportunity to get the word out about Pepper Adams

Cutting down the book was a fascinating exercise. I quickly

realized once again how much easier it is to delete text than

to write it. The mandate was to convert a 730-page book to

about 165 pages, leaving enough room for an index. The

first few steps were easy. I deleted all photographs, changed

the text spacing from 1.25 inches to 1.15, and omitted all

discussion of private and audience recordings. Then, I

deleted one of the forewords and combined some of the end

matter.  That left me with 452 pages. A nice start, but still far

from the required goal.

Getting the book shorter required additional spacing tweaks,

reducing the font of the end matter and block quotes, and

significant excisions as the end product of two complete re-

readings. The first one was cut, cut, cut. “Snoops” as Chico

Marx told Harpo in Duck Soup, after each snip they made of

the boat captain’s mustache. My second pass through

allowed me to cut further and smooth out some of the

transitions that were adversely affected by the deletions. In

some cases, it required moving paragraphs around,

sometimes to other chapters.

The paperback edition needs to be submitted by October 15.

Fortunately, the text is done, but I have a short window in

which to acquire new photographs and documents, get them

in high-resolution form, obtain written permissions for them,

and write captions. I also have to add a brief discography that

I’ll entitle Recommended Recordings. The index can be

submitted later, once the book is edited and typeset.

If anyone can recommend a better title, don’t hesitate to let me

know. I’d prefer something poetic, but was advised that having

“saxophone” in the title would increase sales. Please reply


SUNY is an ambitious press, publishing more than 150 books a

year. Even with my submission in a few weeks, their lengthy

production queue will delay publication for some time. You can

expect the book to be available at Amazon and elsewhere

around this time next year. Meanwhile, check out Reflectory, and

dig the thousands of hours of great Pepper performances, taken

from broadcasts and audience recordings, that you’ve never heard!:


  1. How about "A Singular Saxophonist" as a possible title? My name is Susan Adams, my sister is Sandra. Pepper or Park Adams was our father's cousin. Sadly, we never met but are in awe of his talent. Good luck with your project.