Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Jazz, Pop
As Art Pepper readied himself to die--or further pushed himself toward the brink of death--he seemed determined to say everything possible, quickly and forthrightly. In doing so, he created an explosive ream of albums for ... more »
As Art Pepper readied himself to die--or further pushed himself toward the brink of death--he seemed determined to say everything possible, quickly and forthrightly. In doing so, he created an explosive ream of albums for the Galaxy Records label, most of them featuring Pepper with only the slender backing of a piano-bass-drums setup. He was all over the sessions, picking ripe old tunes and letting fly on them, spinning his silken lines into adventurous nuggets that curbed and then redirected his playing. On Straight Life and on several of the Galaxy sessions (collected in their blessed entirety on the 16-CD The Complete Galaxy Recordings), he has the rhythmic backing of Billy Higgins on drums. Like Pepper, Higgins can whisper his parts and then shout them out with clapping power. These are all tunes Pepper fans will know but they're tremendously fresh, as is their interpreter--who would die less than three years later. --Andrew Bartlett
A Late Pepper Masterpiece
John Stark | Bellingham, WA USA | 07/01/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The sensitive interplay between Art Pepper, Tommy Flanagan, Billy Higgins and Red Mitchell make this 1979 session a classic from Art Pepper's "late" period, when he emerged from the seemingly irreversible oblivion of heroin and prison to once again scale the musical heights he had reached earlier in recordings such as "Modern Art."
Art Pepper was not a jazz pioneer. He invented no new approaches to the music, and it is too easy to deconstruct his playing into the sum of influences that are obvious to educated ears.
On this recording (and on nearly everything else he ever recorded) he demonstrates that the greatness of a jazz performance is based on far more than the daring innovations that win critical accolades and ample space in books and essays on the history of jazz.
Pepper's performance on "September Song" demonstrates what really matters in jazz: eloquent expression of emotion. Pepper poured his heart and soul into this ballad, as his own days dwindled down to a precious few. His solos here -- along with incandescent solo breaks from Flanagan and Mitchell -- are among the most heartrending things he ever did."
Favorite Pepper Album
John Stark | 08/09/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I cannot hope to improve on John Stark's very perceptive and eloquent review. But I would like to second it. This is the finest album from Pepper's late period, and my personal favorite. His renditions of Kurt Weill's "September Song" and Eden Ahbez's "Nature Boy," in particular, are hauntingly lovely and heartbreaking, with superbly delicate solos from pianist Tommy Flanagan and bassist Red Mitchell (the most shamefully underrated bassist in jazz history), and thoughtful brushwork, as always, from drummer Billy Higgins. The hugely enjoyable "Make A List" sounds like a Latin-tinged Vince Guaraldi tune, and the rollicking version of Pepper's classic tune "Straight Life" presented here is definitive. I have listened to this album at least 100 times over the past year: it never fails to move me deeply. A real treasure."
What Great Jazz Is All About
Tom Dellums | Detroit | 03/23/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a great album, really deep and heartfelt, like everything Art Pepper did. The other soloists--Flanagan, Mitchell, Higgins--are just as great as Pepper, really subtle and responsive. The tracks "Nature Boy" and "September Song" are particularly touching--not stale old standards, but transmuted into something profound. It's like hearing them for the first time. I love this album."