Sunday, May 7, 2023

Updates to


I learned recently that Claudette Adams, Pepper’s widow, has passed away.

Excerent Music, Pepper’s publishing company, is likely now being overseen

by Dylan Hill, her son and Pepper's stepson.

I’ve been told that the Excelsior paperback version of Reflectory: The Life

and Music of Pepper Adams will be published this September. Once

available, a link to it will be posted on, and it will be sold

through online booksellers, such as I’ve also been told that it

may also be available at neighborhood bookstores, at least in the US,

though you may have to order it.

Updates made to  my liner notes for Paul Tynan and Aaron Lington’s new

Bicoastal Collective release were just submitted.Their record company’s

owner didn’t like my opening, feeling it wasn’t directly about Tynan and

Lington, and that it also sounded like “sour grapes”:

Inasmuch as Wynton Marsalis has served as a double-threat jazz and

classical recording artist, why haven’t Paul Tynan and Aaron Lington

done the same? Both possess the pedigree, musicianship, and virtuosity

that made Marsalis a dual cash cow for Columbia Records beginning in

the 1980s, when Tynan and Lington were youngsters. Marsalis’s status

as the only jazz player in the 1980s and ’90s who, as a featured soloist,

also recorded the classical repertoire with symphony orchestras, is typical

in the US. According to Robert Frank and Philip Cook’s The Winner-

Take-All Society: Why the Few at the Top Get So Much More Than the Rest

of Us

, “Top performers tend to monopolize pay and prestige, leaving little in the

way of either gain or glory for the vast numbers of also-rans.” Alas, although

Tynan and Lington by the mid-nineties were eminently qualified to be

featured on both jazz and classical dates, offers never came their way. 

The most recent Pepper Adams roundtable that Lington and I convened, #4,

should be posted on YouTube and The first three are here: Some modifications still need to be made to fix a few music examples. The

event broke new ground, and musicians should be delighted with it. Panel #5

can be expected sometime this fall, corresponding with the paperback release

Pepper Adams: Saxophone Trailblazer.

Peter Kang’s third-year recital of Adams tunes at University of Toronto is here:  I hope to post his charts at

A new version of Disco Updates, the place where I make changes and

corrections to Joy Road: An Annotated Discography of Pepper Adams, has

been posted. So too have updates to three parts of Adams’s chronology:

Early Years: 19301958, Byrd-Adams Quintet: 19581961, and Journeyman: 19611964. 

Monday, April 3, 2023

March and April Madness


March slipped away without a blog post and this one is late.

I had started a new day job in late February that was a

distraction, and now I’m involved in a move. Packing is no

fun at any age, but especially this time around.

No news yet on the release date for Pepper Adams:

Saxophone Trailblazer. Fall is still the projected date. Again,

it’s the abridged paperback version of

Reflectory: The Life and Music of Pepper Adams,but devoid of music links and many photographs. Reflectory

will remain in print, is likely $5 cheaper, and far more

authoritative. The music links are incredible! 250 solos you’ve

never heard!

The Pepper Adams Archive is now available for study at William

Paterson University. It’s becoming more likely that the last two

deliveries of my Adams stuff will get there by summer. Most of it,

still sitting at my sister-in laws, includes Adams’s charts for his

Charles Mingus tribute date for Motown, numerous photos, and

various ephemera.

The February 26 Adams panel discussion was a tremendous

success. It should be posted at in a few weeks.

The delay is due to our opening speaker, Paul Tynan, who had

Zoom issues when demonstrating on trumpet Pepper’s licks and

phrases. Once he repairs his music examples, you’ll be delighted

with the new ground that he and all the participants broke. Here’s

the roster: 

Paul Tynan: “Clarion Calls” (1959)

Joseph Trahan: “‘Tis” (1958)

Ben Sidran: “Little Rootie Tootie” (1959)

Aaron Lington: “Each Time I Think of You” (1961)

Andrew Hadro: “Incarnation” (1963)

John Vana: "Azure-Te" (1963)

Logan Ivancik: “Once Around” (1966)

Frank Basile: “Currents/Pollen” (1973) and “Wind from the Indies” (1977)

Adam Schroeder: “Three and One” (1975)

Courtney Wright: “It Could Happen to You” (1980)

Noah Pettibon: “Three Little Words” (1981)

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Pepper Adams Paperback and Zoom Panel


I’m thrilled to report that my paperback version of Reflectory,entitled Pepper Adams: Saxophone Trailblazer, is now submitted in final form to Excelsior Editions. It took

about two solid weeks of intense work to finish the index,

after another two similar weeks close-reading the manuscript.

“Jimmy Health”? That’s one typo that for so long snuck under

the radar but is now fixed.

William Paterson University has cataloged my and Pepper’s

materials, and they are now available for study. Another box of

tapes and videos will be sent sometime this year from my

webmaster. And a large load of five or so large boxes of scores

and ephemera still sit in Atlanta. I’m not sure how they will make

it to Wayne, New Jersey, but I’ll drive it there in 2024 at the latest.

Disappointingly, Worcester Polytechnic University has yet to

digitize my interviews with Adams. They’ve had them for three

years, but no news yet on when they will be available at their


Now that my Pepper Adams work has come to a close after 38

years, I’m free for hire to do other jazz projects. I just finished

writing liner notes for Paul Tynan and Aaron Lington’s forthcoming

recording Bicoastal Collective, Volume 6.

To keep Reflectory current, I’ve convened another Pepper Adams

Zoom panel. On February 26, the following will discuss Adams

solos. It will be posted on YouTube and at

sometime in March:

Paul Tynan: “Clarion Calls” (1959)

Ben Sidran: “Little Rootie Tootie” (1959)

Aaron Lington: “Each Time I Think of You” (1961)

Andrew Hadro: “Incarnation” (1963)

John Vana: "Azure-Te" (1963)

Logan Ivancik: “Once Around” (1966)

Frank Basile: “Currents/Pollen” (1973) and 

     “Wind from the Indies” (1977)

Adam Schroeder: “Three and One” (1975)

Kenny Berger: “Reflectory” (1978)

Kevin Goss: "My Shining Hour" (1980)

Courtney Wright: “It Could Happen to You” (1980)

Noah Pettibon: “Three Little Words” (1981)

Lastly, check out this new discovery: Pepper Adams in Rome with

Franco D’Andrea’s trio, January 20, 1979:

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Paperback Almost Done


Happy New Year! 2022 was a tough year healthwise for me,

dealing with C0V!D and its aftermath. So, I am happy to turn

the page.

Despite the inconvenience, I managed to abridge Reflectory:

The Life and Music of Pepper Adams for a paperback edition. It took four months of work to ready the manuscript for the

publisher, and prepare all of the documents they required to

issue me a contract. Once received, it took additional work to

find photographs and illustrations that SUNY Press would

accept, and then obtain permission forms for them. Then, it

took another few weeks of work to pore over the copyeditor’s

corrections. Now, finally, I’m in the last stage of production. I

recently reread the typeset proofs, proposing final tweaks,

and now it’s up to me to produce the index, a tedious but

curiously engrossing task that will take another two weeks to

complete. Once I submit the tweaks and index, all that’s left for

me to do is to make sure my changes were properly added

and review the index for errors. I think by around February 1

the book will be put to bed.

You can expect an upgraded Thad/Mel chronology (19641977) to be posted in the next few months. I recently searched

through eight years of Orkester Journalenmagazines and was able to both find new gigs that Pepper and

Jones/Lewis did and correct some old ones. The current

chronology, that was updated a month or two ago, is here:

For those who read Swedish or are curious, I also stumbled

upon a 1970 review by Lennart Blomberg that I hadn’t before

seen. It’s newly posted in the bibliography at : 

As a reminder, the ebook version will remain in print. That’s the

one with 450 music links, half never before available, and many

cool photographs besides. None of this is included in the

forthcoming paperback. 

I hope 2023 is a great year for all of you. I’ll provide an update on

the paperback edition in early February. I’m hopeful that the

project will be in the rearview mirror by then. I also hope to

provide news about newly discovered tapes of Adams and Chet

Baker from 1978. 

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Update on Pepperback Edition


I hope everyone stateside had a terrific Thanksgiving

and start to the holiday season. I’ve been busy packing

because I have to move to a new place by May 31. So

far, only one papercut.

Yesterday I received the galleys to Pepper Adams:

Saxophone Trailblazer. I have to submit final changes by

mid-January. The book is still on target for a Fall, 2023


This, of course, will be the paperback edition of Reflectory:

The Life and Music of Pepper Adams. It’s devoid of music

links, all the photos from Adams’s estate, and at least half

the text. But, as a slimmed down abridged edition, it will be

available as a “real” book, and should raise Pepper’s profile.

Also, Reflectory will stay in print for those OK with an ebook

and who want to hear all this great music.

In the last few weeks I’ve updated all of the Adams

chronologies with new research, so check them out here: 

A lot of new content at can be expected in

the next few months, including new interviews and radio shows

with me, new performances of Pepper’s compositions, and

vintage videos of Adams that have never before been seen.

Have a great holiday. Talk to you next year.


Sunday, November 6, 2022

Kind Words about Reflectory


A few days ago I received a wonderful Facebook

message from Tony Wolton regarding Reflectory:

I'm going through the book for a second time, a must have

item not just for lovers of Pepper Adams and his music, but

anyone interested in the Detroit/New York jazz scene 1950's

onwards. Before the book, what little I knew about him came

from LP liner notes and anything I might glean from a magazine

or two. The man was a genius. One reference from the book

and then I'm done: In 1968 (or thereabouts), Miles Davis played

first set at a gig so he could get off early. Don't forget Miles was

getting into strange stuff by then, but held back in the wings to

hear the whole of Adams' set. He dug what Pepper played. How

many others would Miles Davis have hung back for?


Here’s a link to the book, where you can read some about it and

buy it: