Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Among his best . . .
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As I write this I realise how strange my idea sounds, but listening to this CD I couldn't help thinking of Bach at times. Not the Bach of the florid, ornate, multi-instrumental compositions, but the Bach of the pared-down, concentrated pieces for one or two players. You can listen to them again and again, and seemingly simple patterns of notes change each time to reveal something new. That's just what Art Pepper and George Cables give us here. These saxophone / piano duets are striking in their bare exposed emotion and spirit. This is a wonderful memorial from a troubled but magnificently skilled musician. It's hard to believe these tracks were recorded only a few weeks before Art Pepper's death in June 1982: he sounds on top form throughout and there's no hint of waning powers. I think these are some of the most impressive performances of his career. His was always a very emotional, intense style of playing but also entirely unforced. There were no artificial mannerisms or tricks on display. You got the impression that whatever instrument he had chosen, you would always have heard Art Pepper first and foremost, with the instrument simply being a channel for his feelings. This is even more the case here. He and George Cables had played together many times before and the benefits are obvious. The performances seem relaxed and confident, and the resulting music is well-balanced with each player fitting in to the other's style naturally. If this last sentence makes it all seem a little bit 'easy-listening', it is anything but. Stripped down to the bones, Pepper's alto and Cables' piano produce some riveting sounds which demand re-listening again and again. With hindsight, 'Over The Rainbow' seems a perfect reflective summary of Pepper's own life: the yearning for the unattainable, which in his case, with his well-publicised drug problems, had almost brought him to an even earlier end. The selection of tracks, with standards like 'Round Midnight', 'Darn that Dream' and 'Body and Soul' are as if Pepper was intent on showing he had overcome his own demons and wanted to record his definitive versions for posterity. These are classic performances and whole-heartedly recommended. (There are other recordings from the same sessions issued on a companion CD 'Goin' Home' ' I really must get it some day.)"
Art Pepper's Final Studio Recording
Thelonious | Portland, Oregon | 12/30/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although it is true that this CD contains Art Pepper's final studio recording, that is almost an insignificant reason to get this. It is also one of his best. It is free and he is clearly enjoying himself with George Cables, who is the only other musician on the recording. The versions of Over the Rainbow, The Way You Look Tonight, and Body and Soul are some of the most moving I have ever heard. There is a great version of 'Round Midnight as well, but of course there are a number of great versions of that, including Monk's own. If you like Art Pepper, you will love this album. I bought this as a "cutout" and I still can't believe that it sold so poorly that it was remaindered. Everyone that I have turned onto this album has loved it."