Pepper Adams handled the baritone saxophone with the driven facility of hard bop and fueled the big horn with a propulsive intensity that caused him to be nicknamed "the Knife" for his "slashing and chopping technique," which had a humbling effect upon musicians fortunate enough to gig with him. From 1954 until shortly before his passing in 1986, Pepper Adams existed as an indispensable ingredient in the North American jazz ensemble, releasing more than 20 albums as a leader, emanating a special warmth as a featured soloist, and serving as a strongly supportive sideman and an often overlooked accompanist, for he anchored many an ensemble behind vocalists such as Brook Benton, Aretha Franklin, Jon Lucien, Carmen McRae, Helen Merrill, Esther Phillips, Dakota Staton, Joe Williams, and Jimmy Witherspoon. Often mentioned in the same breath ...
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