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Canadian Heritage

Pepper Adams


PEPPER ADAMS (saxophonist, bandleader) was born Park Adams III on October 8, 1930 in Highland Park, Michigan and passed away September 10, 1986 in Brooklyn, New York. Nicknamed the “Knife” because according to Mel Lewis… “when he would get up to blow his playing had almost a slashing effect on the rest of us… and before he was through, cut everybody down to size”. Citing Wardell Gray and Harry Carney as his influences the hard bop baritone saxophonist released 20 albums as leader and co-led a group with Donald Byrd. Adams was primarily a much sought after sideman, working with the big bands of Stan Kenton, Maynard Ferguson and Benny Goodman, supporting Paul Chambers, John Coltrane, Hank Jones, Lee Morgan and most notably Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band and Charles Mingus .