This 1977 Chicago Art Pepper performance was bootlegged in Spain. As it was stolen to begin with, the saxophonist's widow, Laurie Pepper re-purloined it, releasing it on her independent Widow's Taste label. That is the beauty of today's technology. Historically, this show came in the middle of Pepper's East Coast Tour capping the saxophonist's comeback before his artistic Gotterdammerung that ended with his death from a cerebral hemorrhage in 1982. This particular tour ended with Pepper's famous stretch at New York City's Village Vanguard with George Cables, Elvin Jones, and George Mraz, captured in its entirety on The Complete Village Vanguard Sessions (Contemporary, 1995).
That said, Pepper was returning to full-time music making after scuffling around the previous number of years. He opens this Chicago show with his original composition "Pepper Pot" from his salad days in the 1950s. It is a swing piece, bearing a glancing nod to Pepper's Central Avenue experiences and his stint in the Kenton Band. He begins the piece on alto summoning little of his dry martini tone of the song's period. Pepper is already effecting the transition to his later, more incendiary, more emotive tone that characterized his late period recordings. Constructed over the "I've Got Rhythm" changes, "Pepper Pot" provides and expanse in which the whole band participates. Pepper and pianist Willie Pickens take long solo breaks. After Pickens' extended solo, Pepper returns on clarinet, further focusing the composition's swing roots. Pepper was clearly in ascent at Chicago's Jazz Showcase.
Art Pepper: alto saxophone, clarinet; Willie Pickens: piano; Steve Rodby:
bass; Wilbur Campbell: drums.
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.
Get more of a good thing
Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.