Sometime in late 1976 Lester Koenig sent to me at the Vermont Book Shop Living Legend by saxophonist Art Pepper. It blew me away. My experience of Pepper’s music had commenced in the aisle of Music Madness in Cleveland Heights a couple of years before the package of promos from Contemporary Records arrived.
Point Omega – Harvey Pekar in the late Spring, 1974 (from a remembrance of Harvey on squareONE explorations.) (Harvey walks in and heads to the jazz rack, fingers through it part way, and then notices a record displayed on the pegboard. He lifts it up and out of its holder and walks over to the counter. Harvey: This is incredible. Me: What? Harvey: You have no idea how rare these sides are. This record isn’t rare. Me: Huh? Harvey: I mean this LP contains really rare music from Art Pepper. Until now you;d have to hunt for them and probably you wouldn’t find them. Me: Okay! Harvey: You don’t know Art Pepper. I don’t even know why this record is here. Art Pepper is an alto saxophonist–is this white cat with a ton of soul. He sort of takes off from Yardbird, You don’t know Pres, Lester Young. Me: No. Harvey: hmmph. Anyway, it’s useless to sound just like somebody else. Art found his own sound and, man, all his great records are collector’s items. This is a goldmine, this one right here. Ring me up. How much?
Art Pepper was a master player. Hear for yourself.
Laurie Pepper, Art’s widow, has made her life’s project the sustenance of Art Pepper’s legacy. Laurie’s personal blog is full of recolelctions and photos of their life together. Her essential jazz blog leads to an archive of music on Bandcamp. The archive includes name-your-price gems, such as:
I was startled to see Notes of a Jazz Survivor (full documentary) on youtube. It is one of the most important movies about the great American music jazz and about one of its singing angels, Art Pepper.
thank you Laurie Pepper.