283

Art Pepper: Winter Moon

John Eyles By

Sign in to view read count
Recorded in 1980, Winter Moon is Art Pepper's "with strings" album. I know that phrase will strike fear and loathing into the heart of many a jazz fan, but this album is as sympathetic a meeting as it is possible to imagine. Pepper never sounds compromised or constrained by the strings (as has been the case on other albums of the genre). On the contrary, thanks to arrangements by Bill Holman and Jimmy Boyd, the strings beautifully complement Pepper's playing and that of his quintet, never jarring or intruding but subtly underpinning and enhancing the mood of each piece.

With Pepper's band predominantly playing as a rhythm section, Pepper is in the solo spotlight throughout. In nearly an hour of playing, he never disappoints once. Like all great jazz soloists, he achieves that perfect balance between playing lines that are logical and sound obvious whilst also being fresh and surprising. And his tone is rich, full of a lifetime of emotion and experience.

This album is so consistent that it is difficult to pick outstanding tracks. Pepper's own "Our Song" is prefaced by a sweeping string intro, leading into a sustained and varied solo. "That's Love" and "Blues in the Night" (the latter with Pepper on clarinet) showcase his fine blues playing. But "The Prisoner (Love Theme from The Eyes of Laura Mars )" probably pips them all, with a mellow-toned, beguiling solo that has a sting in the tail. Magic. There are people who will try to tell you that Art Pepper's best work was all done for Contemporary before 1960, and that his work after 1975 was an interesting but minor postscript. If they do, you need say nothing. Just play them this album. Case dismissed.


Track Listing: Our Song; Here's That Rainy Day; That's Love;Winter Moon; When The Sun Comes Out; Blues In The Night; The Prisoner (Theme From "The Eyes Of Laura Mars"); Our Song [Alternate]; The Prisoner (Theme From "The Eyes Of Laura Mars")[Alternate]; Ol' Man River.

Personnel: Art Pepper, alto sax (clarinet on "Blues In The Night"); Stanley Cowell, piano; Howard Roberts, guitar; Cecil McBee, bass; Carl Burnett, drums; plus strings.

Title: Winter Moon | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Fantasy Jazz


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Estonian Suite: Live In Tallinn CD/LP/Track Review Estonian Suite: Live In Tallinn
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: November 18, 2017
Read Queen City Blues CD/LP/Track Review Queen City Blues
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 18, 2017
Read Latin Lover CD/LP/Track Review Latin Lover
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: November 18, 2017
Read Reclamation CD/LP/Track Review Reclamation
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 18, 2017
Read The Princess CD/LP/Track Review The Princess
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 18, 2017
Read Provenance CD/LP/Track Review Provenance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 17, 2017
Read "Combsy" CD/LP/Track Review Combsy
by Doug Collette
Published: October 28, 2017
Read "Imaginist" CD/LP/Track Review Imaginist
by Mike Jacobs
Published: December 1, 2016
Read "No Filter" CD/LP/Track Review No Filter
by Mark F. Turner
Published: January 11, 2017
Read "Goat Man & The House of the Dead" CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "Contact" CD/LP/Track Review Contact
by Geno Thackara
Published: October 31, 2017
Read "Evergreen (Canceled World)" CD/LP/Track Review Evergreen (Canceled World)
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 4, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.

Please support out sponsor