Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

3

Alexis Cole: I Carry Your Heart: Alexis Cole Sings Pepper Adams

Larry Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
 Alexis Cole—I Carry Your Heart; Alexis Cole Sings Pepper AdamsAlexis Cole

I Carry Your Heart; Alexis Cole Sings Pepper Adams

Motema Music

2012

I Carry Your Heart; Alexis Cole Sings Pepper Adams is a stunning piece of work. The lyrics, pure poetry; the music, cerebral and swinging. This creation is even more amazing when seen as part of a five-volume production covering all of baritone sax legend Pepper Adams' work.

Producer Gary Carner got the idea for a digital box set, Joy Road: The Complete Works of Pepper Adams (Volumes 1-5), to be put out on Motéma Music. Subsequent to Cole's vocal CD was Joy Road Sampler (Motéma, 2012), which contains highlights from all four volumes. All discs will be available at a later date.

Carner became interested in the project in the mid-eighties. "Now," he says, "after 28 years of research, it has become a crusade...to maintain the historical record of his [Pepper's] life and work" Also a meticulously researched Pepper Adams' Joy Road: An Annotated Discography (2012), has been published by Scarecrow Press.

Born in 1930 in Michigan, Adams' career was too short. He was recognized as one of the top performers on his instrument. He began, though, on tenor sax and clarinet. At 16, he moved to Detroit and switched to baritone sax. In 1947 he joined saxophonist Lucky Thompson's band, and later worked with trumpeter Donald Byrd.

His style differed from others, including Gerry Mulligan and Serge Chaloff. On the big, bulky bari, Adams played at the rapid pace of hard bop. Later, he became part of Charles Mingus' band, until the bassist died in 1979. Shortly thereafter he was a founding member of the Thad Jones Mel Lewis Remembered. Unfortunately, Adams died in 1986.

During his life, he was also a composer of great output and talent. Carner chose to highlight the versatility of Adams' compositions by placing the music in different settings.

He secured Chicago pianist Jeremy Kahn to record Vol.1 in a trio format. Next, he chose Atlanta-based pianist Kevin Bales to assemble a quartet for Vol. 2, with guitarist Barry Greene featured. On Vol. 3, baritone saxophonist Frank Basile, leads a sextet, and on Vol. 4, Carner brought Kahn back with his trio and a special guest, baritone player Gary Smulyan, a devoted Adams follower.

Adams' compositions are sung by the highly rated Cole. The New York-based vocalist was recommended by saxophonist Eric Alexander, who had recorded with her on a Fred Hersch album. For this first ever pairing of his music with words, Carner got poet/lyricist Barry Wallenstein, his friend and mentor at City College of New York (CCNY).

Rearranging Adams' seven ballads to various speeds and styles, and pairing them with Wallenstein's richly literary lyrics, was the task. Cole comes up a winner here with her straightforward interpretations, honoring the integrity of the poetry and always swinging.

The band also deserves special mention, especially the two tenor sax performers, Alexander and Pat La Barbera. Whether soloing or blending their sound, they excel in mostly long takes.

On "I Carry Your heart," the drums' explosive beat drives a tenor chorus as Cole belts out the lyrics. Another highlight is the swinger, "Now In Our Lives." Again tenors carry on beautifully with superb improvisations, trading bars at the end. With "Urban Dreams," Cole's shows the influence of Mark Murphy and Kurt Elling, as she delivers the lines with vivid melodic embellishments.

"Julian," dedicated to Julian "Cannonball" Adderley, is the longest, at 10 minutes. With its dreamy beginning, it suggests a languid early summer day. Saxophones and drums take off, though, sprinting to a piano foray. All prepare for Cole's winning vocalese refrain.

The volume ends with a reprise of the title tune taken in a lovely up-down, high-low pattern. This release certainly whets the appetite for the remaining four volumes.

Tracks: In Love With Night; I Carry Your Heart; Now In Our Lives; Urban Dreams; Julian; Civilization And Discontents; Lovers Of Their Time; Reprise: I Carry Your Heart.

Personnel: Alexis Cole: vocals; Jeremy Kahn: piano; Pat LaBarbera; tenor sax; Eric Alexander: tenor sax; Dennis Carroll: bass; George Fludas: drums.

Track Listing: In Love With Night; I Carry Your Heart; Now In Our Lives; Urban Dreams; Julian; Civilization And Discontents; Lovers Of Their Time; Reprise: I Carry Your Heart.

Personnel: Alexis Cole: vocals; Jeremy Kahn: piano; Pat LaBarbera; tenor sax; Eric Alexander: tenor sax; Dennis Carroll: bass; George Fludas: drums.

Title: I Carry Your Heart: Alexis Cole Sings Pepper Adams | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Motema Music


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Strange Days - 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition Extended Analysis Strange Days - 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: December 9, 2017
Read Trouble No More - The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981 Extended Analysis Trouble No More - The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981
by Doug Collette
Published: November 19, 2017
Read Love, Gloom, Cash, Love Extended Analysis Love, Gloom, Cash, Love
by Patrick Burnette
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Motel Shot: Expanded Edition Extended Analysis Motel Shot: Expanded Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: July 16, 2017
Read Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 50th Anniversary Super Deluxe  Edition Extended Analysis Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 50th...
by Doug Collette
Published: May 27, 2017
Read "Grateful Dead: Cornell '77" Extended Analysis Grateful Dead: Cornell '77
by Doug Collette
Published: May 6, 2017
Read "Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 50th Anniversary Super Deluxe  Edition" Extended Analysis Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 50th...
by Doug Collette
Published: May 27, 2017
Read "Tim Bowness: Lost in the Ghostlight" Extended Analysis Tim Bowness: Lost in the Ghostlight
by John Kelman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Love, Gloom, Cash, Love" Extended Analysis Love, Gloom, Cash, Love
by Patrick Burnette
Published: October 21, 2017
Read "Charlie Watts Meets the Danish Radio Big Band" Extended Analysis Charlie Watts Meets the Danish Radio Big Band
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: April 3, 2017
Read "Alex Cline's Flower Garland Orchestra: Oceans of Vows" Extended Analysis Alex Cline's Flower Garland Orchestra: Oceans of Vows
by John Kelman
Published: March 23, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!