Samuel Chell | Kenosha,, WI United States | 10/08/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Art announces the first tune, a blues in B flat, by saying "This will be our last chance, so it's got to be the best one." Recorded a year before his death, this "live," in-person session conveys what was unique about Pepper. He doesn't sound as cohesive or fluent as on his late 1950s work, but there's a strange "emotional logic" to his solos that's suggestive of an artist in quest of the moment of truth. It seems as though he's working more with sound and emotions than melodic/harmonic invention, as each of his solos consists of fragmented motifs climaxing in a sudden, brief moment of sonic illumination.A big bonus on the album is Art's clarinet solo on "When You're Smiling." Instead of the glib fluency associated with the renowned saints of the instrument--Goodman, Shaw, DeFranco--Art comes closer to the raw emotional quality of a Pee Wee Russell.All in all, a memorable last set, well worth hanging around for."