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Art Pepper: Art Of Art

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Art Pepper: Art Of Art
This is late period Art Pepper, he died a year later, in 1982. The music is full of striving, intensity, urgency. Pepper's sound and tone changed over the years moving from the smooth alto with the Stan Kenton band, altering to a more searching Lee Konitz-like in the fifties, before absorbing an edge from John Coltrane in the 1960s. The tartness, the darkness, the sudden cries, the rhythmic twists are pure Pepper.

Laurie Pepper, Pepper's partner, who sustained him in the final years, has written about the group: "These guys flew together, walked and rode together, shopped and ate together, went through all the aches and pains and mornings after, the bad hotels, bad transportation, gruelling schedules and they played together every night, no matter what. This band was tight."

"Over The Rainbow." Pepper played this first with a Shorty Rogers group and retained it in his book for the rest of his life. It is a melancholy piece and when Pepper overlays it with his sadness, anger, yearning and longing it is like listening to an unburdening, so personal that one almost wants to look away. Pianist George Cables has his own take on the piece, it is a relief when he plays. Pepper returns towards the end with a fiery coda, his music and the notes are bitter, harsh and suffused even more with a kind of grief.

Pepper valued the playing of Cables. "Art," Cables has said, "used to give me a lot of freedom, and I used to take it! I enjoyed playing with him. One thing is, he taught me how to play a ballad. He showed me how to slow down. Because a lot of times, everybody wants to 'double up' when you play a ballad, 'Double up! Don't play slow, double up!' I'd get so nervous about playing so slow, I didn't want to wait that long! But Art played ballads so beautifully." A year later Pepper and Cables recorded duets that are impressive in their sensitivity.

"Blues for Blanche" is named for a white cat that reminded Pepper of the Tennessee Williams character Blanche du Bois. from A Streetcar Named Desire. The cat liked to duel with Pepper, teasing and gently fighting. The playful theme has contributions from Carl Burnett and Cables.

"Landscape" was inspired by a train journey on the bullet train in Japan. The solo at the opening from Cables is inventive and sprinkled with jokey quotes and maintains momentum., before Pepper gently duets with Burnett.

A bootleg of this date has circulated for years. The audio detritus has been removed on this release. There has been revision and re-editing by Rinaldo Donati at Milan's Maxine Studio that has given new life: now crisper, more detailed and especially for David Williams giving additional zest to his playing bringing out sonorities and depth to his bass notes.

Laurie Pepper has ensured that Art Pepper's music continues to be noted and played. The album is a fine example of Pepper's late period.

Track Listing

Blues For Blanche; The Trip; For Freddie; Over The Rainbow; Landscape.

Personnel

Album information

Title: Art Of Art | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: RedRecords


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