Tuesday, March 3, 2020

A Peek at Jazz from Detroit

This is a selective review of Mark Stryker’s eagerly awaited Jazz from
Detroit. I’m reminded of my undergraduate sociology professor, who
marked down one of my term papers, claiming that I was “intellectually
dishonest” because I did a book report but didn’t read the entire work.
It was 800 pages long, its last few sections seemed extraneous, and it
was the end of the semester. Nevertheless, the lesson was learned.

Only about half of Stryker’s fascinating book covers the period
before 1956, after which Pepper Adams left Detroit for New
York. (Parts Four, Five and Six of Jazz from Detroit cover the
Detroit scene after Pepper relocated.) Even some of the author’s
portraits from the first half of his book (Louis Hayes, Milt Jackson,
Ron Carter, Sheila Jordan, Joe Henderson, Charles McPherson),
seemingly related to Pepper’s time in Detroit, are of peripheral
interest to me, despite Pepper’s friendship and recordings with them.
Gerald Wilson, for his part, never worked with Pepper at all, though a
gig with his big band, with Adams as the featured soloist, was
scheduled at the very end of Pepper’s life. As things turned out,
Adams was too sick to make the gig. This leaves Stryker’s historical
overviews, the entire section about the Jones Brothers, and the
author’s portraits of Byrd, Harris, Burrell, Lateef, Fuller, Hanna
and Flanagan as my particular focus.

In Stryker’s Preface, the author lays out his rationale. His overarching
aim is to demonstrate how the jazz history of Detroit was fundamental
to the larger history of jazz in the U.S. Certainly, the author, to his
credit, has in many ways laid the important groundwork for such an
assessment. Ultimately, it may be the job of a Ph.D. candidate (WINK,
WINK!) to tear into this topic over the course of many years and finally
assess Detroit jazz in its entirety, or even era by era. As I wrote in my
forthcoming Pepper Adams biography about Adams’ postwar circle of
astounding musicians, “More than sixty years later, jazz historiography is
still devoid of a thorough assessment of how these Detroiters washed over
and revitalized jazz. As a consequence, this marvelous circle of musicians
is still overlooked as an important mid 20th Century American music

Part One of Stryker’s book is comprised of one eight-page chapter that
discusses early jazz antecedents in the city, and how Detroit’s economy
was fundamental to the city and its musical culture’s growth. Part Two
discusses the “Golden Age of Jazz” in Detroit, 1940-1960. With an opening
five-page salvo, it’s followed by profiles of Wilson, Lateef, Jackson, Jordan,
and ten others who were much closer compadres of Pepper Adams (Barry
Harris, Flanagan, Burrell, Byrd, Roland, Curtis, Louis Hayes, Ron Carter,
Joe Henderson and McPherson). 

I enjoyed reading the Wilson, Lateef, Jackson and Jordan pieces. It allowed
me to, in a sense, reconnect with old friends. I shared a panel at the Detroit
Jazz Festival with Gerald Wilson, and interviewed the other three. Lateef
and Jordan were especially kind, just as Stryker rendered them. Of the three,
only Lateef worked steadily in Detroit with Pepper -- at Klein’s Showbar in
1955 for a spell. Pepper did work with Bags in 1953, after he returned to
Detroit from Korea, but rather sporadically. Jordan, for her part, didn’t get
to know Pepper until they met up in New York City. “Bags” was irritable in
my phone interview with him, as if I was somehow intruding on Pepper’s
good name after his death -- that is, until I repeated that I worked closely
with Pepper on his memoirs. That chip on his shoulder, that testiness, was
well captured by the author in his anecdote about Gary Burton. 

I approached the Barry Harris section with alacrity. Harris had a central role
in Detroit among Pepper and his peers. Pepper worked often with Harris, and
studied with him at his salon. “His teaching was a critical component in the
city becoming a world-class factory for modern-jazz musicians,” wrote the
author. Stryker does a great job discussing Harris’ history as a pedagogue,
especially his work in New York City. Like Whitney Balliett, Martin
Williams and Gary Giddins before him, Stryker has a knack for explaining
jazz in clear, breezy, sometimes eloquent prose. Unlike them, though, Stryker
has musical chops. He ventures into musical concepts, using terminology to
explain his points, in an organic, non-pretentious way.

Several interesting points emerged in his portraits that came as a surprise to
me. One was Donald Byrd’s possible Bell’s Palsy condition, and how it
affected his trumpet playing beginning in the 1960s. In fact, the author’s Byrd
portrait is one of the book’s highlights, principally because he plumbs the
depth of Byrd’s interesting life, in this way getting more deeply into his
biography than seen elsewhere, where the work is the main focus. The
Roland Hanna portrait is equally gripping in this way. In the latter, I was
surprised to learn that Hanna graduated from Cass. It’s not mentioned
anywhere else. Really fine research on the author’s part! Stryker’s assessment
of Roland Hanna is one that I agree with wholeheartedly: Hanna “remains the
most elusive and underrated of the great jazz pianists to emerge from Detroit at
mid-century.” Had I written that, I might have deleted “at mid-century.” That’s
the level of esteem that I hold for Hanna after admiring his body of work with
the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra all these years. 

The Curtis Fuller portrait is very good too, interlaced with interview material
that the author conducted. I took two quotes from it and placed them directly
into my Pepper bio. The same goes for the Joe Henderson chapter. Equally
excellent. Henderson’s last few years of popularity harken back to Charles
Mingus’ and Zoot Sims’ similar experience, and makes me wonder if Pepper
Adams would have benefited from the same fate, had he lived another few
years. Henderson was one of Pepper’s favorite tenor players, but I did have
to skim part of the portrait. The same goes for the Hank Jones section, even
though he appeared on several important Pepper Adams recordings.
Again, it’s somewhat peripheral for me at this juncture. The Thad and
Elvin Jones pieces, however, I read carefully, even though much of the
author’s superb Thad piece was serialized about a year ago in the Free Press.
I read it then with much admiration. 

The seven-page portrait of Elvin Jones has some wonderful parts. I
especially like the following, uttered by the tenor saxophonist Bobby Jasper,
since it helps explain why the New York critics had so much trouble grasping
Elvin’s style, and why Pepper Adams endured so much heat for retaining
him in his Five Spot band in 1958:

“Detractors said he was loud and confusing, and it took a while for many
musicians to feel comfortable with him. ‘He played so many strange
overlapping rhythms that I found it hard to hear the basic tempo,’
saxophonist Bobby Jaspar wrote in the Jazz Review in 1959. ‘I thought
that he was in poor form and just couldn’t keep time. . . Then, little
by little, I began to understand the mysteries of Elvin’s playing.’”

Mark Stryker has spent the better part of his career as a reporter and arts
writer for the Detroit Free Press. Now retired, I certainly hope that he stays
involved with jazz, particularly Detroit’s. As a sage, he could shepherd
the next two or three generations of research on Detroit’s extraordinary jazz
history. Wayne State, Michigan State, the University of Michigan: Are you
listening? It’s high time for a major research university within the state of
Michigan to finally establish the Detroit Institute of Jazz Studies, with
someone of Mark Stryker’s pedigree guiding it.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Big Band Recording Released!

After a seven year delay, the big band recording of ten Pepper Adams compositions has finally been released. What a relief! Hugs to all my Kickstarter contributors who so graciously made this happen, who so patiently awaited for this recording to see the light of day. The various twists and turns that we experienced are detailed in the liner notes, reprinted below.

The tunes are available digitally on CD Baby: https://www.pepperadams.com/Compositions/Session6/index.html
Physical CDs will be produced, but not before the first half of my Pepper Adams biography is published. 

The University of Illinois Concert Jazz Band 
Chip McNeill, Director
featuring the University of Illinois Jazz Faculty:
 Tito Carrillo trumpet and flugelhorn
Jim Pugh trombone
Chip McNeill tenor and soprano saxophone
 Glenn Wilson baritone sax 
 Chip Stephens piano
Larry Gray bass
Joel Spencer drums

In 2012, I traveled throughout North America on a forty-city book- and record-release tour. My travels took me throughout the Midwest and East Coast of the U.S., up and down the West Coast, and across Canada. Mostly, I gave lectures to university jazz students about Pepper Adams, reading excerpts from my book Pepper Adams’ Joy Road. But in certain cities, such as Montreal, Vancouver, Atlanta, Los Angeles and San Francisco, various bands also performed Adams’ music. 
The highlight of the entire tour was “Pepper Adams Week” in New York City, sponsored by Motema, the record label that released my five-CD set of Pepper’s music. The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra performed several Thad Jones’ charts that originally featured baritone solos; Gary Smulyan and George Mraz played at various venues throughout the week (including a three-baritone event in Harlem with Frank Basile and Ronnie Cuber); Alexis Cole had a record release party at Smoke; and on the last night, a twin-bill at Birdland featured Lew Tabackin performing Pepper’s music, plus Bevan Manson conducting his octet arrangements of Pepper’s music for jazz and string quartets. After 28 years of work on Pepper Adams’ life and music, everything came together so beautifully. It was immensely gratifying to see how many musicians turned out at the various events out of respect to Pepper’s legacy.
Although I had already produced Adams’ entire oeuvre of 42 compositions for small-group, and the co-branding of my book and Motema project/tour was still in the exploratory stage, I remained especially intrigued by the idea of showcasing Pepper’s music for big band. To see if commissioning a few big band charts of Pepper’s music was even possible, in 2011 and early 2012 I reached out to the saxophonists Frank Griffith and Osian Roberts. I had known Frank since 1983, when the two of us were students together at City College of New York. Frank has a ton of experience writing big band arrangements, and, ultimately, I hired him to write charts on “Rue Serpente” and “Reflectory” Roberts, for his part, told me how much he adored Pepper’s playing and compositions, that his goal was to write a group of big band charts to Pepper’s music that he could play with a large group in Prague, where he lives. Similarly, he too did charts on Adams’ sumptuous ballads ”In Love with Night” and “Civilization and Its Discontents.”
Certainly, it was great to have these in hand, but my goal, of course, was to have an album’s worth of material. Even better would be to extend Motema’s “Joy Road” Adams series to a sixth volume, and produce a big band date. To that end, Motema initially expressed interest in the project. Then, with Frank Griffith’s recommendation, I hired a colleague of his to write a number of charts, some of which received their premiere in Vancouver with Jill Townsend’s terrific big band at Cory Weed’s The Cellar. Ultimately, a total of 32 arrangements were prepared, including several for tentet.
I had the arrangements, but, obviously, the cost of producing a big band is astronomical. With this in mind, I thought the best approach would be to engage a first-class university jazz program, thinking that possibly some of their faculty could either participate as guest soloists or function as the rhythm section. My first choice was Denny Christianson and his wonderful program at Humber College in Toronto. It was a no-brainer, really, due to Christianson’s work with Adams on Suite Mingus (JustinTime Records, 1986), the fact that he’s a stellar trumpeter and conductor, that he ran Humber’s jazz program and could make things happen, and he built a top-notch recording studio at the school. Further, my hope was to have some of his faculty participate, especially the extraordinary saxophonist Pat LaBarbera, who I produced on Alexis Cole’s vocal date (Joy Road, Volume 5). Unfortunately, as much Denny wanted to do the project, only a year earlier, a parent of a Humber student had gotten embroiled with the school regarding his child’s rights to a recording that Christianson’s student band had made. Because of that legal issue, Humber’s administration decided to henceforth cease allowing their students to participate in any recordings that were intended for commercial release.
No longer able to do the project at Humber, I turned to the University of Illinois, which has long had one of America’s finest jazz programs. The baritone saxophonist Glenn Wilson, a Pepper devotee who at the time was on the faculty, got very excited about using my charts as a means of promoting their program. Moreover, Illinois just like Humber, had their own record label that they used to promote their program. Wilson offered to record the charts at the school’s expense. Although we agreed that Illinois’ Concert Jazz Band is one of the leading college jazz orchestras in the world, I felt we needed to insure that the performance was at a professional level and consistent with the rest of my Pepper Adams CDs for Motema. As co-producers, Glenn and I concluded that the best way to achieve this would be to rehearse the student band all semester, then, at the very end, add the world class Illinois faculty as soloists and as the rhythm section.   
So we moved ahead. I delivered the charts. The Illinois band, under the direction of the saxophonist Chip McNeill, polished them over several semesters. After performing them at various venues, the band recorded them over the 2013 Easter weekend at the university’s Smith Memorial Hall Rehearsal Room in Urbana. 
Then things got complicated. First, a hectic Kickstarter campaign was successful in raising funds for studio time. But Wilson’s files weren’t in the preferred format for the engineer Paul Wickliffe. After some difficulty, Wickliffe was able to reformat them. That fall, I traveled to Wickliffe’s New Jersey studio to produce what I thought was a great recording for commercial release. My approach was to in some cases edit down performances, and to also exclude two tracks, to render a fifty-minute CD of what I felt was the strongest material.
Soon thereafter, I learned that sales of the Motema’s five-volume Pepper Adams series was lackluster, that they could not release another date of Pepper’s music. On February 15, 2014, I updated my 97 Kickstarter donors:

I’ve heard from Motema, and they have rejected putting out the CD, even despite an earlier commitment to at least release it digitally. The backup plan was to get re-engaged with the folks at the University of Illinois. Both Chip McNeill and Glenn WIlson have record labels they record with, and the University also has its own label. As soon as things are resolved I'll let you know. The date still needs to be mastered. In the meantime, enjoy the music I've sent you. As always, thanks so much for supporting my ongoing work on the great Pepper Adams.

Since I no longer had a label committed to releasing the date, it became incumbent upon Chip and Glenn to either find another label or have the university’s label release it. Illinois then moved ahead with the project. They reinstated all the edits, had Wickliffe engineer the two deleted tracks (“Patrice” and “Doctor Deep”), and master the final product. On July 8, 2014, five months later, I explained the situation:

I’m happy to report that the University of Illinois is currently working with engineer Paul Wickliffe to reinstate a few solos and edit two extra tracks. Once this is complete and the tunes are reordered, UI will be shopping the date to other labels, now that Motema has suspended their Pepper Adams series. I'll update you as I learn things. Again, thanks so much for your support and patience. 

Throughout the following months, I stayed in touch with Chip and Glenn. A year later, I was relieved that things were finally in place. Accordingly, on September 8, 2015, I sent my Kickstarter donors this update:

I’m very happy to report that Armored Records will be releasing the Pepper Adams CD that you so kindly contributed to some two years ago. Again, thanks for your generosity and your continued patience while mastering was concluded and a label was finally procured. I haven't been given a release date, but I think it's likely it will be out by this Christmas. Once I receive the stack of CDs, I’ll let everyone know so I can reconfirm shipping addresses before mailing them out to all those who contributed at that price level and above.

For the next two years, many emails went back and forth between Chip, Glenn and me about the status of the recording. Finally, in the Fall of 2017, I emailed this out:

I hope this finds everyone well. It’s been almost three years since all of you so kindly contributed to this important CD and tour project. Your funds made so much possible: mastering the big band CD, supporting the one-month North American tour of concerts and lectures, paying for these great arrangements. Some of the footage from the tour will be posted on YouTube soon. It was a fantastic experience for all involved. I hope all of you have enjoyed the rewards that were sent out in December, 2014. 
As I wrote previously, some time ago Motema discontinued the Pepper Adams series. As you may recall, the original fall-back plan was to post the CD at CD Baby, then send you a physical copy. A better strategy was then devised to instead find another label and release the physical CD. If that wasn’t possible, then the University of Illinois’ own label would be used. 
After about a year, the folks at Illinois got a deal to release the date on Armored. That was a great plan, and we were all excited and relieved. But there have been delays with that too, mostly costs for packaging that Illinois has been struggling to budget. If you don't know, the state budget of Illinois is in very tough shape. Along with Pennsylvania, the Illinois state university system is weathering severe cuts, more than anywhere else in the U.S. This has slowed the ultimate release even further.
Although I’ve proposed it several times, and it would take only a few weeks to make the date available digitally at CD Baby, it would be an act of bad faith on my part to release it that way and harm Illinois’ market share. We do remain hopeful that the CD can be released this summer, once Illinois sees if any money remains after the semester is concluded. CD Baby always remains a fall-back plan, if Illinois can not get it out, though the likelihood of that is slim. It could still take another year for them, all things considered, to scrape up the packaging costs.
We thank all of you for your continued patience with this. The folks at Illinois were blindsided, and still have to maintain their excellent jazz program. In the meantime, the arrangements you paid for are being played around the world, and Pepper’s music is being heard, thanks again to you! Yet another concert of this great music is scheduled in two weeks at Utah State, with Jason Marshall as soloist. And one of the arrangements, “Doctor Deep,” has been released by Humber College on their label. Humber’s concert was one of the high points of the tour you supported.

Woefully, the recording sat on the shelf for nearly two more years. Finally, it became clear that neither Chip and Glenn’s contacts nor Illinois’ record label was a viable alternative. At long last, in early 2019 the decision was made to have me take over the project and release the recording. Because I was so involved working on my Pepper Adams biography, however, I wasn’t able to address the project until now. 
In retrospect, despite all the unforeseen circumstances that caused the seven-year delay, I can honestly say that everyone always preceded with the best of intentions. More importantly, after listening anew with fresh ears, I’m really quite pleased with how the recording turned out. I hadn’t heard it for quite some time, but I think you’ll agree that the charts, solos, and ensemble playing are crisp, spirited, evocative, often downright superb. How can you go wrong with Pepper’s music, and some of Chicago’s finest musicians playing it?

Gary Carner
January, 2020
Braselton, Georgia

Recorded on March 30-31, 2013 at the Smith Memorial Hall Rehearsal Room, University of Illinois, Urbana IL

The University of Illinois Concert Jazz Band: Zubin Edalji, Bobby Lane, Justin Dyer, Kevin Bourassa, Dan Wendelken tp; Euan Edmonds, Ben Ford, Austin Seybert tb; Reginald Chapman btb; unknown frh*; Clark Gibson, Tom Meyer as; Mark Hartsuch, Jeff Erickson ts; Jon Griffith bs; Chip Stephens or Marcelo Kuyumjian** p; Sam Hasting g; Larry Gray or Sam Peters** b; Joel Spencer or Matt Endres*** dm; GUEST SOLOISTS: Tito Carrillo tp, flh; Jim Pugh tb; Chip McNeill ss, ts; Glenn Wilson bs.

*Two French horn players were added on at least one track.
**Peters and Kuyumjian likely play on only one or a few cuts in place of Gray and Stephens respectively.
***Endres instead of Spencer on “Patrice.”

Producers: Gary Carner and Glenn Wilson
Executive Producers: Nat and Cindy Charatan
Recording Engineer: Glenn Wilson
Mixing and Mastering Engineer: Paul Wickliffe
Post-Production Assistance: Daniel Olson
Special thanks to Matt Endres, Glenn Wilson, Chip McNeill, Jeff Erickson and Zubin Edalji.

We gratefully acknowledge all those who contributed to the Kickstarter campaign that made this recording possible. We’re especially grateful to Frank and Carol Bubel, Steven Cerra, Nat and Cindy Charatan, Pat Collins, Flavius Cucu, Claire Daly, Richard Davis, Kurt Eherenman, Joie Gifford, Jon Gudmundson, Nils Erik Hagstrom, Andrew Homzy, Ernie Jackson, Ken Kellett, Andrew Layton, Joe Lex, Larry Miller, Colin Mills, Dan Morgenstern, Gilberto Munoz, Jonathan Nathan, Peter Jason Riley, Ellen Rowe, Ben Sidran and Ed Xiques.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Pepper Adams Archive


Happy New Year! I was able to fit in a trip to New York over the Christmas holidays. In anticipation of finally delivering the first batch of Pepper Adams materials to William Paterson University’s Living Jazz Archive, a few weeks ago I emailed the following announcement to my jazz research colleagues around the globe:

I'm very pleased to announce that in the next few weeks I will be delivering to William Paterson University the first batch of Pepper's materials from his estate. My goal was to make his materials available somewhere in the New York City area, where far more researchers would have access to it. Furthermore, the idea of pairing his materials with Thad Jones' was irresistible. Many thanks to David Demsey for making this possible.

Mostly LPs and 78s are all I can squeeze into my little VW this time around. On subsequent trips north, I will deliver his papers, photographs and ephemera, plus my research notes and many rare audience recordings and broadcasts. Some of Pepper's documents have already been posted at my Instagram site: https://www.instagram.com/pepperadamsblog/ 

Additionally, all of my interviews with and about Pepper, about 275 at last count, are being digitally preserved by Worcester Polytechnic Institute's Jazz History Database: http://jazzhistorydatabase.com/index.php  Available to anyone with internet access, all of the audio should be available starting this summer.

Happy holidays!
Gary Carner

Also, while editing the final draft of the first half of my Adams biography, I sent the following excerpts of my galleys to my good friend Anders Savnoe. He’s the author of Bluesville: The Journey of Sonny Red, (Scarecrow, 2003), the study of Detroit alto saxophonist Sonny Red. I knew he’d appreciate reading all my references to Red:

Donald Byrd met the alto saxophonist Sonny Red in 1945 at the Hutchins Intermediate School. They had classes together, played school dances, and were in the orchestra and concert band. 

Charles Boles, Claude Black, Sonny Red, Donald Byrd, Paul Chambers, Doug Watkins, Teddy Harris and Tommy Flanagan all attended Northern High. Its program was run by Orvis Lawrence, who had played with Glenn Miller and the Dorsey Brothers. “Claude was in the choral group with me,” remembered Charles Boles: 

We all did the Messiah every year. We were very good. They had a very good [voice] teacher there, Claire Weimer. . . . I couldn’t play in the concert band because I couldn’t read as well as Donald Byrd’s sister, Martha Byrd. She was a classical pianist. So I ended up playing bells in the concert band, and then I played piano in the dance band. They very rarely played any dances. We just played jazz tunes, and blues of course. In that band were people like Donald Byrd and Sonny Red, Paul [Chambers]. Paul and I used to eat lunch together every day. When he got to the 10th Grade, he went to Cass. Him and Donald Byrd both.

Claire Roquemore is still another Detroit legend. “There was this great trumpet player named Claire Rocquemore,” wrote Miles Davis in his autobiography. “He was one of the best I ever heard.” “He could play anything,” remembered Charles Boles:

He’d wear Miles out. He’d wear anybody out. Donald [Byrd] didn’t want to get on the bandstand with him. He ended up being strung out, and he didn’t go anywhere. He would always be around, when he could keep it together, and kick everybody’s butt. He was at Barry’s house all the time.

Roquemore “was a wonderful, young, Caucasian-looking trumpet player,” recalled Roland Hanna. “He was very fair-skinned, blonde-haired. He probably had a white mother and a mixed father. He looked white but he wasn’t white. He was mixed. Whenever Claire had a gig, he’d use Pepper.” When Charlie Parker came to town, he would ask, “Where’s ‘Roque?’” Teeter Ford, yet another obscure trumpet player who never fulfilled his immense potential, replaced Roquemore in Barry Harris’ group (with alto saxophonist Sonny Red) in the early 1950s, According to Frank Gant, he had a better tone than Rocquemore, but not Roquemore’s extraordinary breath control. Harris believed that Ford would eventually become jazz’s greatest trumpeter.

When Frank Foster moved to Detroit in 1949, he taught many of the young musicians, including Barry Harris, how to work with tritone substitutions. “I think Frank Foster was probably one the best things to happen to Detroit when he came,” said Barry Harris. “He knew a lot about music. He was our biggest influence.” In turn, Detroit shaped Foster. “When I came to Detroit,” Foster told the audience at Thad Jones’ memorial service at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in New York City, “I could play. But Detroit taught me how to swing.” In 1950 or so, before he joined the U.S. Army, Foster would meet with some of the budding Northern High School musicians. “He was becoming a pretty astute arranger,” said the pianist Teddy Harris. “He would get Donald Byrd, Sonny Red, and myself and Claude Black, and take us to his house, where he would teach us how to read his arrangements.” 

Detroit’s musicians revered Harris as much as they feared his mandates for self-improvement. After high school was out an any given day, some of Detroit’s most dedicated young players went to either Barry Harris’ house or Bobby Barnes’, depending on how they were faring with Harris’ jazz assignment from the previous week and how much courage they possessed. “At Bobby Barnes’ house,” remembered Charles Boles, “Roland Hanna was the piano player, Gene Taylor was the bass player, Claude Black played trombone, and Bobby Barnes played the sax.

Sometimes we’d go to Bobby Barnes’ house, who lived on Russell on the North End, or we’d go to Barry Harris’ house. Sonny Red would go back and forth. . . . We would come out of Northern High School — me and Paul Chambers and Sonny Red — and we’d catch the Woodward bus. . . south, downtown to, say, Warren, and then you’d catch the crosstown bus to Russell. And then you’d catch the Russell bus to Barry’s house. . . . At Barry’s house, it was almost a situation where it was either Doug [Watkins] or Paul. They were in fierce competition. . . . When we went to Barry Harris’ house, more than likely you’re gonna get slaughtered! You know what they do? They would egg you on, and do everything they could do to get you to play, and then they’d play something like “Cherokee” or some hard-ass tune. Of course, they’d play it at some ridiculous speed, but you couldn’t keep up. So you’d go home and you’d practice that all week long, and you go back and they’d play it in “A,” or play it in some other ridiculous key that would have nothing to do with the tune at all. They’d say, “Oh, I’m sorry, I’m in ‘A.’” Whatever you practiced would be null and void. You could barely play in B-flat! When you get your butt kicked at Barry Harris’ house, then you’d slink on over to Bobby Barnes’ house the next two or three days. You wouldn’t dare show your face at Barry Harris’ house when you got killed already. He was a master teacher, though. I tell you what: If you continued to go there, he would help you. He would teach you how to improvise.