Pepper Adams (b. 1930, d. 1986) was one of the best baritone saxophone players ever to live. His most famous work is with fellow Michigander, trumpeter Donald Byrd. The two collaborated on quite a few albums between 1958-1962. Unfortunately, Adams' brilliance was often overshadowed by the fame of another baritone sax player, Gerry Mulligan. While they played the same instrument, they were otherwise worlds apart. Mulligan was part of the West Coast Cool crowd, playing in a soft melodic and, well, cool style. In contrast, Adams' was hard bop all the way.
We called him 'The Knife' because when he'd get up to blow, his playing had almost a slashing effect on the rest of us. He'd slash, chop, and before he was through, cut everybody down to size.

--Mel Lewis

Adams was a member of the famous Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra from 1965-1978.

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