Frank Adams and Burgin Mathews. Doc: The Story of a Birmingham Jazz Man. Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 2012.
Doc: The Story of a Birmingham Jazz Man tells the story of jazz elder statesman Frank “Doc” Adams, highlighting his role in Birmingham, Alabama’s, historic jazz scene and tracing a personal adventure that parallels in many ways the story and spirit of jazz itself. A compelling work of oral history, the book draws from more than two years of weekly interviews with writer Burgin Mathews, bringing to life Adams’s warm, funny, and inspiring storytelling voice.
“Frank Adams’s account of his life as a musician in Birmingham is fascinating on its own, with his rich stories of life on the road, the bands of Duke Ellington and Sun Ra, and the fabled music teacher Fess Whatley. But his memories of the development of the city’s culture, the role of African American educational institutions, life under segregation, and the struggle for civil rights give this fine book an epic feel, and show us sides of Birmingham that historians have missed.” — John Szwed, author of Alan Lomax: The Man Who Recorded the World and Space Is the Place: The Lives and Times of Sun Ra