The Improvisational Vocabulary of Pepper Adams: A Comparison of the Relationship of Selected Motives to Harmony in Four Improvised Solos

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Park "Pepper" Adams, III (1930-1986) is one of the most influential baritone saxophonists in the history of modern jazz. In addition to his time feel, his timbre, and other conceptual techniques, a great deal of Adams's improvisational style and vocabulary can be illustrated by his use of three motivic devices. These three motivic devices are: (1) his utilization of the sixth degree of the major scale as an important melodic pitch; (2) his use of a paraphrased portion of the melody of the popular song "Cry Me a River;" and (3) his use of the half-whole octatonic scale when the ... continued below

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Lington, Aaron Joseph August 2005.

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  • Lington, Aaron Joseph

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Park "Pepper" Adams, III (1930-1986) is one of the most influential baritone saxophonists in the history of modern jazz. In addition to his time feel, his timbre, and other conceptual techniques, a great deal of Adams's improvisational style and vocabulary can be illustrated by his use of three motivic devices. These three motivic devices are: (1) his utilization of the sixth degree of the major scale as an important melodic pitch; (2) his use of a paraphrased portion of the melody of the popular song "Cry Me a River;" and (3) his use of the half-whole octatonic scale when the rhythm section sounds a dominant chord. This dissertation traces the way in which Adams applies these three motivic devices through four of his original compositions, "Enchilada Baby," "Bossallegro," "Lovers of Their Time," and "Rue Serpente." All four of these compositions were recorded by Adams on his 1980 album, The Master. In addition to the motivic analysis, a biography of Adams is included. Complete transcriptions by the author of Adams's improvised solos on the four compositions are included in the appendices.

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  • August 2005

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  • May 14, 2008, 9:08 p.m.

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  • Oct. 28, 2013, 2:02 p.m.

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Lington, Aaron Joseph. The Improvisational Vocabulary of Pepper Adams: A Comparison of the Relationship of Selected Motives to Harmony in Four Improvised Solos, dissertation, August 2005; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5576/: accessed October 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .