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Sunday, September 2, 2018
© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.
I've begun writing Part II of Pepper Adams' biography (1930-1986). In the last two weeks I've written about forty pages, starting with Pepper's death at home on September 10, 1986 and working my way back in time. My plan is to write in reverse chronological order until I reach the end of Part I, when Pepper packed his bags and moved to New York. Then, having come full circle, I'll conclude by assessing whether what he set out to do in music was actually achieved.
I've finished listening again to the interview I did with Tommy and Diana Flanagan. They had a lot to say about how Pepper approached death, how and why his marriage collapsed, and what really took place versus what the New York jazz community thought was going on. I quote a few very poignant letters to give a sense of what Pepper was enduring at that time. The one below was written as a kind of confessional and published in the July, 1986 issue of JazzTimes. By the time of its publication, he would only have about six more weeks before he passed away:
I’d like to thank you for the kind words in the current JazzTimes, and thank you particularly for stressing the fact that I’m continuing to work. People have been exceedingly kind, and their contributions have been quite helpful, but opposed to the cost of the treatments that are, to put it bluntly, keeping me alive, private charity can only go so far. The bulk of the costs have been offset by my own efforts in being able to work, and work effectively. And, if I may say so myself, I’ve done remarkably well for fourteen months, and the next three months appear quite secure.
And this despite the efforts of a few unscrupulous agents, who have used my name to secure work and then, when the job was secure, informed the purchaser that I was too ill to perform and substituted someone else. I’ve learned about these incidents when the purchaser (club owner, festival executive, etc.) would call to commiserate about my health when I was sitting home, feeling fine but out of work. I wonder if these agents considered that by eroding my reputation for reliability they were diminishing my chances for survival; if they did think about it, they were obviously not deterred. Which is why I consider it important that people be reminded occasionally that I’m still a credible working musician. . . .
I must report, though, that my string of playing every job I had contracted for has finally come to an end. It happened on my last trip to Europe, in April, which ended in near-disaster. It started at the Dublin Festival, where they drove me into the ground like a tent peg. I had five concerts with five different bands (four of them requiring lengthy rehearsals), a 2 1/2 hour master class, and a live television show, all within three days. I was already in a lot of pain when I arrived in Paris to work seven straight nights at Le Petit Opportun; after five nights the pain became so overwhelming that I had to sit out the last two nights.
When I got home it was discovered that I had a severe case of pleurisy, which was raging out of control since it had been there, untreated, for ten days or so. My oncologist held off the chemotherapy while I was in such rotten shape, but finally the point was reached when it had to be administered, ready or not. I could tell that the doctor was worried and, frankly, so was I, but it’s worked out well. I’m recovering nicely. I’ve felt nearly myself for several days, and still have a couple of weeks to recoup my strength before I resume work. My itinerary through the middle of September is sprinkled with nice paydays, and at no point so burdensome as to tempt a return bout of the pleurisy, nor of the pneumonia I went through twice last winter. Things are definitely looking up.
Since I'm donating my large book and periodical collection to Georgia State University, I have in front of me access to this huge jazz library that for fourteen years was packed up in boxes in my basement. I've spent this month skimming through many articles from Wire, Cadence, JazzTimes, Down Beat, Jazz Journal and many others to locate interesting tidbits I can use for color in the narrative. So far, I've found these:
“He was terrified when the band started to swing, he didn’t understand it,” said the bassist Red Kelly.
ABOUT ELVIN JONES:
“If Elvin was anything drum-wise, it’s about fullness of sound . . . the absolute fullness of the tonal palette,” said the saxophonist Dave Liebman.
ON THE ROAD WITH WOODY HERMAN:
“It was very grueling," said Joe Temperley. "There used to be some awful bus journeys. It was a hard life, you know: ten-hour bus ride and you’d get to the job twenty minutes before you had to hit, then change your clothes in the toilet downstairs and play all night. And then, maybe sleep that night and then the next night you would hit and run; but you play the gig. You sleep all night and travel all day to the gig, and play the gig -- this is the second night -- play the gig and then travel all night to save a night’s rent. Those were the days. That happened all the time.”
ABOUT NEW YORK AROUND 1965:
“New York was vibrant then," said Joe Temperley. "You could go and hear Al and Zoot; go one night and Phil would be sitting in with them and another night Richie Kamuca would be sitting in with them. You could go hear John Coltrane and sit all night -- buy a bottle of beer, two bottles of beer -- and sit all night and listen to the music.”
ABOUT NEW YORK IN 1968:
“When I left in ‘68," said Art Farmer, "the United States was in a very bad situation. There were assassinations, social unrest, people afraid to go out at night, and with so many jazz clubs in the so-called ‘ghetto areas,’ people felt that they were taking their lives in their hands if they went out to hear jazz. That had a bad effect on a person who tried to play for a live public.”
ABOUT MEL LEWIS:
Mel Lewis’ greatest influence was the drummer Tiny Kahn, said the bassist Red Kelly.
ABOUT PEPPER AND THAD:
“I heard Pepper say a couple of things that made me know that he and Thad had been very close in their lives," said Seldon Powell. "And I think they were still close, but there maybe was a rub or two here and there. Pepper told Thad one time, when he figured that he wasn’t getting his share of solos and whatnot. But I remember Pepper saying one time -- somebody said something about that to Pepper, and he turned and said to him, ‘When I was in the army and they sent me to Japan during the Korean War,’ he said, ‘I received two letters the entire time I was over there. One of them was from Thad Jones.’ And the inflection that was in his voice told me something about how he felt about [Thad]. They might have had a conflict here or there but I’m sure they felt very close to each other as human beings and as musicians, and they were the giants of their time.”
See you next month,
Sunday, August 5, 2018
© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.
I'm very proud to report that just last night I put the finishing touches on Part I of my Pepper Adams biography. Called "Ascent," it loosely covers the first half of Pepper's life, from birth until his move to New York City in early 1956. Although this may imply that the book is a chronologically arranged narrative, that's definitely not the case. Instead, my approach is thematic in nature. I zig-zag across his life where appropriate. For example, I open the book with his epiphany in Detroit, when, as a teenage, he heard Charlie Parker at the Mirror Ballroom. Then I trace how Pepper got back to Detroit from Rochester, New York, after which I discuss his time in Detroit until he enlists in the U.S Army. In sum, the first part of the book covers Pepper from age seventeen until twenty or so before I even get to his Army experience. In Chapter Two I discuss his paternal lineage and his time as a child in Rochester. His Army experience opens Chapter Three, Ascent's final section, followed by quite a long discussion of his Detroit experience in the 1950s, his maternal background, and why Detroit was such an extraordinary place for jazz.
One reason it took another month to wrap up Part I is that I was waiting for my last reader to critique my final draft of Chapter Three and the Prologue. On Friday I finished incorporating my reader's various suggestions to both. Yesterday and today I improved the Prologue's content and added a new paragraph, describing how Pepper Adams has become a spiritual calling for me. Finally, I can truly say that it's time to move on to Part II ("Dominion"), after sixteen months of work. That, of course, won't keep me from peeking at the Prologue a few more times to make sure that I'm totally happy with it.
Also, this past month I was able to finish the very tedious job of transforming what was formerly my set of footnotes into a section retitled "Sources." Now my quotes are more properly placed in the back of the book. This is the modern way of listing attributions, so as to not disturb the reading experience. I've found that this approach also prevents me from submerging somewhat arcane information that didn't quite fit into the text somewhere else in the book. Oh, well.
I'm also pleased to tell you that quite a few upgrades were made in July to pepperadams.com. First, an update to my Byrd-Adams Quintet piece was posted. It includes new information on when the two first played together in Detroit. It was with the Charles Johnson band, by the way, and only for a short period of time. See http://www.pepperadams.com/ByrdAdamsHistory.pdf
I've also added part of the analysis section from my Tufts University masters thesis in Articles: http://www.pepperadams.com/Articles/Scan_0012.pdf. You'll see how I attempted to qualify a bunch of Pepper solos. It was my thesis director, T.J. Anderson's, idea to do it in this manner.
The biography/musical study in progress now has its own book icon. You'll see it at at pepperadams.com directly under Pepper Adams' Joy Road. If you click through, you can access music examples that I'm discussing in Part I of the book. Listed already in boldface are Pepper's earliest recorded baritone solos (Hugh Jackson) and his very first recorded clarinet solo (Oliver Shearer) from 1947 when he was sixteen! New material will continue to be added so please check it out!
Three other additions have been made to the site in July. The first Disco Update in over a year has been posted: http://www.pepperadams.com/JoyRoad/DiscoUpdates.pdf
The Dedications page is almost complete: http://www.pepperadams.com/Dedications/index.html
And my extensive history of Detroit, formerly written for the Pepper biography, has been posted:
Have a great rest of the summer!
Sunday, July 1, 2018
© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.
First, a happy July 4th holiday to all. Over the last few weeks I’ve been busy making significant refinements to Chapter 1 of my Pepper Adams biography. My final reader suggested numerous changes to the chapter. Fortunately, Chapters 2 and 3 remained unscathed!
Mostly, my long and somewhat tangential history of Detroit from 1694 to the mid-1950s, “Detroit Drives the Nation,” has been removed. It’s now posted at pepperadams.com: http://www.pepperadams.com/
Detroit.pdf in the place of “Videos.” That was an internal redundancy on the web site that we retained for a while. All the Pepper Adams videos are now available by clicking the YouTube icon on the top of the page: http://www.pepperadams.com/ Compositions/compList/videos. html
I made other, more subtle improvements to my manuscript. I think the first chapter is now much tighter and better focused on Adams. As of now, only my Preface needs some work before I can finally add a few last things from the interviews I conducted with a few Detroiters. Then it’s time to begin the second half of the bio, 1956-1986.
In addition to the new article posted about Detroit, other upgrades have been made to http://www.pepperadams.com/ since May’s blog. The Dedications page (http://www.pepperadams.com/
Dedications/index.html) has been further fleshed out with new postings. Added are those dedications to Pepper Adams written by
Bernie Senensky http://www.pepperadams.com/
Glenn Wilson http://www.pepperadams.com/
and Brian Williams http://www.pepperadams.com/
Thanks to all of them for providing the music samples and lead sheets. All that now remains is posting four remaining pieces: Thad Jones’ dedication, “Two As One,” and those done by Alain Cupper, Osian Roberts and Pete Lukas. If anybody else out there has written a dedication to Pepper Adams, please let me know and we’ll post it.
In a few previous posts I promised to share some of the comments about Pepper that were made by the saxophonist Doc Holladay and the drummer Eddie Locke in interviews I conducted many years ago. Here’s a few gems from Holladay:
Pepper was a very talented cat. He knew he was talented, I think. I always had the feeling that Pepper really knew how talented he was, and it was a frustration for him to realize that people didn’t appreciate him.
I personally feel he was the greatest ‘change player’ in the world, as far as playing changes. I don’t know anybody who could touch him. . . . He could play twenty or thirty choruses without ever repeating himself.
On gigs with Holladay. Pepper liked to play a blues, and cycle through all twelve keys, each chorus in a different key (F to B-flat to E-flat, etc). It was just phenomenal!
Pepper used the Service as a school, in a sense. Pepper would get his horn out and he would spend a lot of time in the barracks. His routine was he got a fakebook. He’d pick a tune, and he would learn that tune to where he really had it by memory, and then he’d start playing the tune. We’re talking about the melody now. He’d play that melody, and he’d start playing it in all different keys. So he had that tune in all kinds of keys and be comfortable with it. Then he’d start playing off the changes of the tune, and he’d start doing that until he’d get the changes down to where he could run the changes on the tune, and then he’d start to run that in all the keys. He would digest a tune, just take it apart, make it his own, and then he would go on to the next tune. All the time he was in the Service, in the band where I observed him, he was constantly doing that. A new tune every day or two. He could play for hours. The rest of the guys would go out to hang out and party, and Pepper would be in there taking a tune apart.
I don’t think I ever heard him run patterns as such.
As for Eddie Locke’s comments, here are some of his observations about Pepper and Detroit in the 1940s and 1950s:
You were always trying to get to the big joints: The Flame, The Frolic, the Chesterfield Lounge. Those were on John R. Chesterfield: Pepper played in there. Roland Hanna used to play in there . . . When you played on John R, that means you were getting established. You were jamming no more.
Sam’s and Joe’s Record Shops on Hastings St. had some recording studios in the back where they cut records.
A real jazz man will play his instrument no matter what. He’s gonna play. He’s not gonna make an excuse for not playing by saying, “Something is wrong. I can’t play.” If you love it so much, it doesn’t make any difference. No dollars, bad musicians, good musicians, mediocre musicians. You’re gonna blow!
Pepper just happened to also be a great player. But he was a real jazz man. That’s something different, even being a great player. . . A real jazz man is rare. That’s a lifestyle. That’s not just going to school, and that’s what Pepper was about. In Detroit, you played in the joints -- slop jobs in those old, funky places. That’s a jazz man. He wasn’t trying to play in Carnegie Hall every night. He was just going to play some music because he loved to play. . . . People wanted to play with him because he was jazz man.
There were so many scenes, different kind of bands, and it all becomes a part of you when you’re around it.
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.
I'm just back from a vacation in Canada. Sorry for the delay in uploading this post. On my way home I visited with trumpeter Denny Christianson, who was the only musician to ever record Pepper Adams in a big band setting with Adams as the featured soloist. That recording, Suite: Mingus, and its follow-up date, More Pepper (with a few additional cuts from the Montreal session), were released posthumously. Adams, very weak from cancer in February, 1986, made it through the recording but it was a Herculean struggle for him to get through the date. Denny told me that, for the first few takes, the rhythm section was pulling back the time to stay with Pepper because he was back-phrasing. Denny had to instruct them to keep the time in place so Pepper could express himself as he wished.
Christianson has run the esteemed Humber College jazz program in Toronto for eighteen years, building it to its current state as one of the world's finest. At age 75, he has just retired. He intends to begin writing his memoirs once all his things in his office are organized and packed.
It was a joy to reminisce about Pepper with him and his wife, Rose, and to share parts of the first half of my Pepper book with them. Later, saxophonists Pat LaBarbera, Kirk MacDonald, and Shirantha Beddage, all on the Humber faculty, came by for a barbecue. What a great experience! From Denny, Rose and Kirk I was able to record some more valuable interview material that will be helpful in the second half of the biography.
While in Canada, before returning to Toronto, I hung out with my pepperadams.com webmaster. We made considerable progress with the Dedications page, gathering performances. That page, and Big Band Arrangements, are currently being updated. New Chronology files have already been posted at the site. In some cases, these are the first updates in over a year, with much new information, including the newly researched inception of the Thad Jones-Pepper Adams Quintet.
My co-author on the Pepper biography, John Vana, and I have adopted a new working title for the Pepper Adams book. We're running with Reflectory: The Life and Music of Pepper Adams. Do you like it? John felt that the title underscored Pepper's contemplative, intellectual side. I felt that it had an air of poetry to it. The subtitle needs to be there to reflect the bifurcated nature -- Pepper's life and the musical analysis -- of our twin approach. As with my first Adams book, Pepper Adams' Joy Road, we'll use on the cover what I feel is Pepper's most iconic photograph.
I've added a surprise, very special guest to write an Afterword to the book. Still another contributor is in the works. The idea is to have at least one world renowned jazz scholar/musician validate some of John Vana's observations, to add weight and emphasis to them. For one thing, putting Adams in a class with Bird and Trane will surprise some, if not many. I feel it's important that Vana's conclusions not be perceived as the ranting of a biased fan. Having an Afterword will silence the cynics, and startle those who have been asleep about Adams.
To that aim, Vana will be teaching a graduate course at Western Illinois University in the Spring, 2019: "The Big Three: Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and Pepper Adams." I expect he'll make all sorts of discoveries that will make its way to our book.
I've been listening recently to my interviews with Tommy and Diana Flanagan. I'm nearly finished with them. The great value of this documentation is that it helps me understand the last few years of Pepper's life, especially how he dealt with his final illness.
I did listen to my interview with Bob Wilber that I conducted in 1988, between sets at the Sticky Wicket Pub in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, where he appeared as a soloist with a rhythm section. Wow, was he tremendous that Sunday afternoon!
Here are some Wilber interview excerpts about Pepper:
"He saw the possibility of taking the big sound from the baritone, from Carney, and applying it to bebop jazz -- which was a difficult thing to do because when you have a really big sound it tends to be sluggish. It tends to slow you down."
"One of the tensions that he achieved in his playing was this feeling of being slightly behind, as though he was falling behind. It added tension to his playing."
"Yeah, legato tongue, where Carney tended to be more legato without any tonguing. He had great harmonic sophistication. He explored all the possibilities of using the diminished scale, and all kinds of things. Very sophisticated harmonically."
"A gentle guy. He had that soft way of speaking."
In the next few weeks I'll begin cataloging part of Adams' collection before I drive up to New Jersey to donate it to the William Paterson University Archive. I'll be including a list of Pepper's 78s and LPs, as well as his personal 8-Track collection, as appendices in the biography. How appropriate to have the Pepper and Thad Jones collections together at the same institution!
Last month I promised to share Eddie Locke interview excerpts. That will have to wait until my next installment. I may also include some of Doc Holladay's interview excerpts next month too.
Happy Summer to all!
Sunday, May 6, 2018
In the last month I've worked my way through two lengthy and significant interviews that I conducted in 1988. The first one is with Pepper's college roommate, Bob Cornfoot. The others is with the Detroit-born drummer Eddie Locke, who worked for four years with Coleman Hawkins. The only interviews yet to be heard before I'm officially done with Part I of Pepper's biography (1930-1955) are those with the singer Lodi Carr, the saxophonist Doc Holladay, the bassist Major Holley, and the pianists Hank Jones and Tommy Flanagan. Listening to, and taking notes about these last handful of interviews will help me finish Chapter 3, which covers Pepper's stint in the US Army and his time in Detroit from 1953 through the end of 1955.
Additionally, I finally located my interview with the saxophonist Bob Wilber. I'll listen to that one, too, to also see, as I do with all the others, if I've missed or misrepresented any important facts. In Wilber's case, I want to determine if I've overlooked anything important about Pepper's early days in Rochester, New York. Wilber attended the Eastman School of Music for one semester in the mid-1940s. While there, he, Pepper, Raymond Murphy and Bob Huggler spent a lot of time together, listening to jazz records and playing along on their instruments.
As it only relates to Pepper's time in Detroit before he moved to New York City in early 1956, the thrust of Cornfoot's interview was recalling a number of interesting facts about his time knowing Pepper at Wayne University (now Wayne State) and when they worked together at several record stores in Detroit. Cornfoot mentioned that Pepper liked Leo Parker's early work with Fats Navarro. They both adored Gilbert & Sullivan, and, apart from that, they listened together to recordings of Honegger's Pacific 231, and by Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Wardell Gray and Dexter Gordon. Pepper also liked Benny Bailey's trumpet playing. There was a lot of knocking on the walls at 3am, said Cornfoot, because of the late-night listening. The great Detroit pianist Bu Bu Turner used to come to their dorm a lot to listen to 78s at half speed and learn solos. In the dorm, Pepper practiced soprano sax.
While rooming together, he and Pepper in the middle of the week used to go to the Center Theater, about six blocks from Wayne, to catch matinees of older films that were made during the twenties and thirties. At all-night theaters they would catch comedies at the Mayfair Theater. They enjoyed shorts by Laurel and Hardy (with Charlie Chase), Bobby Clark, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and the Marx Brothers.
About Pepper's sense of humor, he said, "His humor seemed to be based more on human foibles, and bringing up short the pompous, the powerful. A tremendous punster. A lot of word play at times." When Pepper told a story, he would wait a few seconds, with a deadpan expression or a half-smile on his face, before laughing with his characteristic chuckle.
Cornfoot introduced Pepper to the works of Anthony Burgess. "He got all wrapped up in him," said Cornfoot. "When he got interested in something, he went thoroughly, all across the board."
Regarding classes at Wayne: "He used to use my notebooks because I was on the GI Bill. So they paid for my paper, and my notebooks, and that. So I'd come back from a class. Pepper would take the notebook and go to his class and make his notes. I remember he had a music appreciation class. They were covering Haydn. He had a marginal note that said, 'No wonder the guy write 104 symphonies. The son of a bitch only scored in octaves!'" Pepper did his term paper on Stravinsky. Pepper's favorite class was a film history course taught by Fran Striker. Striker wrote radio scripts for the Lone Ranger show.
Pepper told Cornfoot that he studied with Sidney Bechet. I've written Bob Wilber about that, because if true, it would have been when Wilber was living with Bechet.
"Hellure" is how Pepper answered the telephone, and "Cheers" is how he signed off on his correspondence.
Next month I'll tell you about the Eddie Locke interview and other things I've learned.
Sunday, April 1, 2018
It's been a dense month of listening to the many interviews that I conducted with a bunch of Detroiters, such as Hugh Lawson, Bess Bonnier, Phil Levine, Curtis Fuller and others. I still have a number of them to hear. All of them relate to Pepper's early days in Detroit.
The value of listening to them is to find little gems of information that I can still add to the book, or to make factual corrections to the existing text. When I add new text, of course, I have to take my time writing a new paragraph here and there, and then go through a series of rewrites. Here's a few examples of some new text. (I'm still researching what instrument Vigiletti played):
Adams’ friends mostly referred to him as “Pepper.” Some affectionately shortened his nickname to “Pep.” Others, such as Barry Harris, called him “Mr. Peepers,” because of his similarity, in appearance and affect, to the mild-mannered, bespectacled actor Wally Cox who portrayed Mr. Peepers on the popular American television comedy of the same name that ran from 1952-55. Some of Pepper’s oldest friends, such as Elvin Jones, preferred his birth name, “Park.”
Some Detroit musicians, however, didn’t care for Pepper’s playing. “When I got home from the army,” said Adams, “I discovered that what was mod and fashionable on baritone then was the very light, tender sound, and I had a number of people tell me quite seriously that if I ever expected to stay in music I would have to alter the way I was playing.” Several of these judgmental white musicians not only objected to Adams’ big sound, thinking it old-fashioned and too “black,” but they didn’t like his use of harmony, thinking that he didn’t know what he was doing. “He was so far in front of everybody,” said Hugh Lawson. “They mocked him because they didn’t understand it. That’s like Elvin Jones. They were so far in front.”
Three white players, however, did admire what Pepper was doing: Joe Vigiletti, the drummer Norman Purple, and the baritone saxophonist Frank Morelli. All three of them, according to Lawson, followed Pepper around from gig to gig. Morelli, who would much later take Curtis Fuller’s place in Yusef Lateef’s group, idolized Adams and wanted to study with him. Although Pepper was grateful for the admiration, as a “self-taught” player he somehow felt ill-equipped, despite his many accomplishments already, to teach the baritone saxophone to a younger devotee.
My co-author, John Vana, and I have at long last set up the contents of the entire Pepper Adams biography (see below). Again, our publication date is 2030, the centennial of Pepper's birth. The first half of the book is 100 pages in length, not including front matter. My last half of the book will be written in reverse chronological order. Chapter Four will cover the time when Adams was married, mostly after he left the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra. Chapter Five will cover his thirteen-year period of time playing with Thad Jones. Chapter Six will deal with Pepper's arrival in New York until late 1964.
The formation of the Thad Jones-Pepper Adams Quintet, by the way, has been scaled back eight months, from March, 1965 to September, 1964. It turns out that the Quintet played gigs in New York City not soon after both Thad and Mel left the Gerry Mulligan Concert Jazz Band. This predates by two months Thad and Pepper's contribution to Oliver Nelson's legendary recording More Blues and the Abstract Truth. This new information will be reflected in changes that I will be making to my Adams chronology, posted at pepperadams.com.
As you can see by the headings below, Part Two of the forthcoming Adams book will give John Vana a chance to chart Pepper's growth as a soloist, discuss significant recordings throughout Pepper's thirty-year career, reveal his enduring legacy, and to get deeply into his important and extensive analysis of "The Big Three: Parker, Coltrane and Adams." I think that this section will be one of the most influential aspects of the book. Think of it: No one -- historians or fans -- puts Pepper Adams in their league. Yet he rightful belongs there, as Vana will explain through the use of numerous musical examples and carefully reasoned explication of what each has done in their playing career. All music examples will be posted at pepperadams.com.
As for the site itself, numerous upgrades have been made already to pepperadams.com. Please check it out.
Foreword by ________________ ix
The Life of Pepper Adams
Chapter 1: What Is It?
Interlude: Detroit Drives the Nation
What Is It? (Part II)
Chapter 2: Inanout
Interlude: A Brief History of Rochester, New York
Inanout (Part II)
Chapter 3: Binary
Interlude: Detroit Jazz, 1922-1954
Binary (Part II)
Chapter 4: Now in Our Lives
Chapter 5: Conjuration
Chapter 6: Urban Dreams
The Music of Pepper Adams
Chapter 7: The Emergence of an Original Style
Chapter 8: The Big Three: Parker, Coltrane and Adams
Chapter 9: Key Recordings
Chapter 10: Jazz Innovator
About the Authors
Sunday, March 4, 2018
© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.
A belated happy New Year to everybody! My apologies to those who have been awaiting a post from me. Yes, I've been away from the blog for some time. My life has been a little chaotic job-wise, though things have sorted themselves out recently.
I'm very pleased to announce that the first half of my Pepper Adams biography is now finished. I completed it a few days ago. It's about 100 pages. I began writing around the middle of April, 2017, upon my return from lecturing at four colleges in Utah. Looking back, I'm still amazed how I got all this done in eleven months. It sure helps to have 34 years of notes! During the next four weeks I'll be editing the manuscript, and going over my Pepper Adams interview transcript and listening to about 25 interviews, just to be sure I don't leave any important things out.
Here's an overview (finding aid) of Part I, what I call "Ascent":
Charlie Parker at the Mirror Ballroom
Move to Detroit, Rochester NY vs. Detroit
Arrival in Detroit, race relations
Detroit in the 1950s
History of Detroit, 1700-1900
History of Detroit, 1900-1950
The Music Box, Little John and His Merrymen
Getting the Berg Larsen and Selmer, Detroit's baritone history, Beans Bowles
Pepper's father in Detroit
Family's musical roots
History of Rochester
Early life in Indiana, move to Rochester
Age 4-9, father's death
Rochester musicians during World War II
Age 10-12, Everett Gates
Duke Ellington at the Temple Theatre, Rex Stewart, trip to Seattle
Ellington, Skippy Williams, classical music
Importance of elders (especially Rex Stewart), Duke Ellington
Raymond Murphy, Bob Wilber
Service in the U.S. Army, Korean War
The Blue Bird Inn
The World Stage
The West End Hotel, Klein's Show Bar
Detroit's jazz history
Thad Jones, Wardell Gray, baritone players on the scene
Obscure Detroit jazz musicians
Pepper's personality, Detroit pianists
Detroit musical education
Detroit's outlier jazz generation, Malcolm Gladwell outlier concepts related to Pepper
Pepper demo played for Prestige and Blue Note, Pepper sits in with Miles and Rollins
Stan Getz story, Pepper moves to New York City
I met with my trusted webmaster, Dan Olson, last week. We're planning important upgrades this year to pepperadams.com. New context will be added to "Radio Interviews" and "Big Band Performances." A link to a new WikiTree genealogy of Pepper Adams is planned.
I had to wipe clean the hard drive on my iPad a few months ago. By doing so, I lost my trusty app for Blogspot. If anyone has a recommendation for an app I can use that DOES NOT ask for my Google password, please let me know. It will help me format future posts.
I did submit my first section from Ch. 3 about Pepper's experience in the U.S. Army for publication in 2019. I'll let you know if it's approved. I'm