Doc: A Birmingham Jazz Man

Now available from the University of Alabama Press: Doc: The Story of a Birmingham Jazz Man, by Frank “Doc” Adams and Burgin Mathews.

“Doc” is the oral autobiography 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.

“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

Order a copy online, and  like it on Facebook.  Thanks.


Doc Adams on The Lost Child: Burgin interviews Doc for “The Lost Child” radio show, 10/13/12.  1 hour.  (For more on “The Lost Child,” visit us here.)

Listen to Doc Adams discuss his experiences with Sun Ra, in this Lady Muleskinner article.


Review from Alabama Public Radio: “Lots of work went into Doc

See the November 2012 issue of Birmingham Magazine for an interview with Frank Adams and Burgin Mathews: “Doctor Jazz: The authors of a new book about Birmingham jazz share how their work came to be.”

From Birmingham’s Black & White: “Jazz Practitioner: A new book by one of Birmingham’s old guard jazz players reveals a brilliant storyteller” (10/18/12, page 20)

PHOTOS: Living Legends concert, Doc Adams and the Birmingham Heritage Band: October 25, 2012, Bama Theatre, Tuscaloosa

Notice from The Tuscaloosa News: “Concerts mark the release of new book”

Notice from Doc Adams honored as a “Living Legend”

PHOTOS: Book release party, featuring performances by Birmingham’s best jazz and gospel groups: October 14, 2012, at the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame

Notice from The Montgomery Advertiser: “Jazz musician in spotlight in new book”

Notice from The Birmingham News: “Doc speaks: Former Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame chief writes autobiography”