Saturday, July 27, 2013

Pepper Adams Big Band CD Kickstarter Campaign

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

Does anyone know who's responsible for YouTube's Pepper Adams Channel?  Contrary to popular belief, it isn't me!  If that person would come forward, I'd like to post an announcement there about the Pepper Adams big band Kickstarter campaign (now in it's final two weeks), to reach it's substantial subscriber base.

Speaking of Kickstarter, we're now 52% funded, with 15 days to go.  It's been a nail-biter, each day with it's emotional ups and downs.  Somehow, I've managed to aggregate just barely enough family, friends, musicians, and Pepper fan donations to keep pace with the grinding daily need for $234 of pledges a day.  

We started off well, but then hit a wall, and donations were flat for almost a week, leading me to alternating feelings of hopefulness and despair.  I started thinking of the campaign in medical terms, such as "flat-lining" and "life support."  Then, suddenly, on Friday, July 20, a bunch of baritone saxophonists started pledging, the entire campaign was lifted, and we've had wind at our sails ever since.  

That's not to gloat, or to say that this is done.  Every day continues to be an emotional roller-coaster.  As I write this, no new donations have come in.  Usually by 4 or 5pm, on a less than adequate funding day, I'm thinking about red wine and when I'll pour my first glass.  That hasn't happened yet today, but my bottle of Super Tuscan, opened and in the fridge, comes out shortly to get near room temperature, just in case.

Some very notable people have contributed thus far, and I'm very gratified!  Pepper's close friend Lew Tabackin has donated.  So has pianist/writer/broadcaster Ben Sidran, who conducted probably the greatest interview with Pepper that was ever done in Pepper's lifetime.  You can listen to it in the Interviews section of  Pepper was very ill at the time.  It was only ten months before his death. 

Thanks to Ben, the great bassist Richard Davis has also contributed.  Talk about coming full circle! Arranger Tony Faulkner is one of Thad Jones' greatest disciples, and Richard Davis was, with Mel Lewis and Roland Hanna, part of that spectacular Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra rhythm section.  The charts that Faulkner wrote for our new CD (Volume 6 in Motema's Pepper Adams Complete Compositions series) surrounds Pepper's music with Thad Jones phrases and textures, and now Richard Davis is supporting the release of that work with his pledge?  

Faulkner is stunned, particularly because one of Davis' pledge awards is to receive an arranging lesson from him.  Tony might not feel worthy, but I told him, "This is your moment.  Enjoy the next few months."  I was referring to more than the Skype tutorial with Davis.  I was thinking mostly of the upcoming book-CD-concert tour--with world premieres, a live recording, an NPR broadcast, and clinics and lectures--that he and I are doing throughout the U.S. and Canada, starting in late October.  We hope to see you there!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Sixth CD

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

I'm very excited to let you know that I've recorded a fantastic new CD of big band charts of Pepper Adams compositions for Motema Music.  This is the sixth CD in my series, and it's the first recording of its kind ever undertaken.  It will be released in January, 2014.  It wouldn't be possible if it wasn't for the esteemed British arranger Tony Faulkner, who wrote all the charts.  Faulkner is little known outside of England, but this project should change that in a hurry.

Ten superb performances that were done over Easter weekend by the Concert Jazz Band at the University of Illinois, with solos by their superb faculty.  I need to raise $7,000 to pay the arranger for all his great work, to pay the engineer to mix and master the date, and to pay for Faulkner's flight to the US so we can promote this great music with concerts, lectures, and radio shows throughout the US and Canada.

In order to release the recording, and subsidize the CD marketing tour to promote this great music in advance of its commercial release, I'm asking for your help. Kickstarter is a project-driven, crowd-funding website that allows the Pepper Adams world community to work together in a grassroots way to make this happen and perpetuate Pepper Adams' legacy.  But it's an all-or-nothing deal.  If I don't meet or exceed my goal of $7,000 by the 30-day deadline, no money changes hands, no rewards are given, the new recording stays on the shelf, and the tour is in jeopardy.  Can you please help? Can you work with me to bring this exciting project to fruition?

Please use one of these urls and donate whatever you can.  No donation is too small and all is very much appreciated!  For your generosity, some great gifts await you!  You'll see them at my Kickstarter page. 

This is a 30-day sprint, so please spread the word.  I'm looking forward to sharing this music with you. Long live Pepper Adams!

Thank you,
Gary Carner

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

2013 Pepper Adams Tour

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

This Fall's four-week Pepper Adams tour is shaping up beautifully.  The esteemed arranger Tony Faulkner arrives in Atlanta from the UK on October 25, and, after a few days of fun, we hit the road for gigs, clinics, lectures, and recordings in Cincinnati, Champaign IL, Macomb IL, Chicago, New York, New Jersey, and Willamsburg VA.  Other locations are still pending.  The world premiere of Tony's dedication to Pepper Adams, "Park Frederick III," will be performed at Cincinnati's Blue Wisp Jazz Club by the Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, led by Scott Belck.  Both Tony and I have lectures and clinics at the University of Illinois and Western Illinois University, then we hope to travel directly to Detroit and Toldeo for tentet and big band gigs before returning to Chicago to hear the U. of Illinois Concert Jazz Band play Tony's Pepper charts that they recently recorded for Motema. In Teaneck NJ on Sunday, Nov. 10, the Tim Horner-Ron Horton Tentet will be playing at the Puffin Foundation new charts of Pepper tunes, written by Faulkner for the band.  We hope to record the band in New York sometime that week.  In Montclair NJ the Diane Moser Big Band is performing Tony's suite and several of his Pepper charts at Trumpet's on Nov. 13.  Our last clinic is at William and Mary.  Once the entire tour falls into place, I'll post it.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Complete Pepper Adams, Vol. 6

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

The first track, Bossallegro, has been mixed, for the upcoming Motema CD of Tony Faulkner arrangements.  The performance is by the University of Illinois Concert Jazz Band, with faculty as soloists and the rhythm section.  Solos on this track are by Jim Pugh and Glenn Wilson.  The superb rhythm section is Chip Stephens p; Larry Gray b; Joel Spencer dm.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Update on Pepper Adams Tour

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

It's been several months since I updated you on my Pepper Adams work. First, the great news is my Pepper Adams book is being reissued in paperback. That's very gratifying because it will be affordable and more people can learn about Pepper and his great music. Also, the book was just nominated by the ASRC for Best Historical Research in a Discography in 2013. It's wonderful to know that Adams is appreciated.

Hardcover owners please note that the paperback edition has an updated index. There were some issues with the original version, because my printer died when printing out the camera-ready copy, thereby changing pagination.

The 2012 book and CD tour was extraordinary! I visited and lectured in 40 cities in the U.S. and Canada. Notable concerts were Kevin Bales and Barry Greene in Atlanta, Pat LaBarbara in Toronto, Jill Townsend's Big Band in Vancouver, Jeremy Kahn in Chicago, Hod O'Brien in Charlottesville, and the entire week in New York. 

We had six nights of concerts in NYC celebrating Pepper Adams. The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Alexis Cole, Lew Tabackin, and Bevan Manson's Octet with Gary Smulyan were the highlights. Having George Mraz on several of the shows was beyond belief! Many thanks to Don Friedman, David Amram, Jerry Dodgion, and Kenny Washington for participating.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Complete Works of Pepper Adams Sampler

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

The first review of the Joy Road Sampler is in from Critical Jazz:

"A typical review doesn't work here. This is a release of historical significance as much as it is an artistic triumph. Joy Road Sampler is not a melancholy look back but a celebration of what lies ahead in jazz today. From Gary Carner to the musicians to the incredible people at Motema Records, not a conventional release but a sublime experience. An epic work."

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Very Rare Tommy Flanagan, Korea 1953

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

In Pepper Adams' archives is a very rare tape, just transferred to CD. On Easter Sunday (5 April) 1953, presumably at Base K-8 near Kunsan, Korea, Tommy Flangan's trio with altoist Jerry Lehmeier, recorded five tracks, all with piano solos, including Get Happy, I Love You, and Dancing in the Dark.  The bassist and drummer are unknown.

The following Sunday, 12 April 1953, at Base K-8 near Kunsan, Korea, the same group performed eight tracks, including 's Wonderful, Body and Soul, and Out of Nowhere.  There are no piano solos and the rhythm section supported Lehmeier as featured soloist.

Pepper Adams can be heard in the audience, so it's possible he produced the recording.