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Discussion Starter #1
On this cd Art plays his Martin. What I think is funny is what is says on the back: "Album notes don't always tell the whole story. Contemporary president Lester Koenig, who rightly felt that Art had yet to record with musicians who were his equal, wanted to take advantage of Miles Davis's quintet being in L.A. But Pepper hadn't been playing for several months, and his horn was in a state of disrepair. To minimize anxiety, the session was kept secret from Art until the last minute. But Pepper always rose to the challenge: he taped up his dried-out cork, arrived for the date, and proceeded to record an album widely considered the most important of his career."

taped up his dried-out cork?? You mean the cork on the neck that the mouthpiece goes on? That can't be right, because that has nothing to do with the playing state of the horn! I just thought that was a rather curious statement...
 

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I believe the main issue was that Pepper had been strung out and not practising for a while before the session. From what I remember he mentions in his autobiography that his horn was in a bad state. This could be exaggeration, of course. I think as far as the neck cork goes the implication may be that the cork was in such a bad state (neck dropped or scraped or something) that the m/p wouldn't stay on the neck properly.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
RootyTootoot said:
I believe the main issue was that Pepper had been strung out and not practising for a while before the session. From what I remember he mentions in his autobiography that his horn was in a bad state. This could be exaggeration, of course.
Hmmm... maybe I should try "taping up my dried cork" when I haven't practiced for a few weeks. :laughing:

Somebody was exaggerating, Art or whoever wrote this nonsense. :p It seems like a bit of a sensationalist twist. I could imagine that Art's horn may have needed work, as pro players horns often did. (there is a pic of Trane with a rubber band on his tenor!)
 

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I think this story has only some faint truth to it, I shall dig out the book later, but according to his own discography he was recording only a few days before this gig.

I don't think he knew about the date, but he had been playing shortly before. It could be he played those other dates with a different horn.

Lets not forget that Art was a "larger than life" character! He also claimed he never practiced, yet continually contradicts this during his book. I think he took some kind of pride in his lack of preparation, but perhaps it is not all it seems.
 

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Here is an extract from the discography, as you can see he was recording 5 days before, at a high level :)

Nice story though...


JAN 14/57-ART PEPPER QUARTET
Art Pepper(as)Russ Freeman(p)Ben Tucker(b)Chuck Flores(d)
When You're Smiling
Cool Bunny
Diane Dilemma
Diane Dilemma (Alt Tk)
Summertime


JAN 19/57-ART PEPPER QUARTET
Art Pepper(as)Red Garland(p)Paul Chambers(b)Philly Joe Jones(d)
You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
Red Pepper Blues
Imagination
Waltz Me Blues
Straight Life
Jazz Me Blues
Tin Tin Deo
Star Eyes
Birks Works
The Man I Love
 

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In his book, Art says that when he heard about the date, his horn was sitting unused on it's stand. When he went to pull the mouthpiece off, the neck cork came with it. So, he wrapped a bunch of tape around the neck to act like the cork. He then went out and scored a bunch of junk and got totally high before the session. Art was a great player but even more of a lying slimy f4343k than Bird so take anything he said with a grain of salt [not pepper].
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I am fascinated by Art Pepper all of a sudden. I always knew about him but decided at some point I didn't like his sound and that was that. Now, it's like discovering a whole new world, and now I want to see the film, read the book, etc. Funny how things can change.

I posted this in the Martin section, because I got into Art through my interest in Martin altos (It usually happens the other way around.) I specifically went to the cd store to get this cd since I'll soon be getting a Committee model Martin alto like he's holding on the cover. Anyway, I'm glad I discovered Art. :D
 

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Easily in my top 3 albums of all time. Listen to the break on Imagination....absolutely incredible.

Saxaholic
 

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Nice album. I had *You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To* played at my wedding. (A low-key occasion but good music.)

His book *Straight Life* is a good read.

- Michael
 

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michaelH said:
Nice album. I had *You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To* played at my wedding. (A low-key occasion but good music.)

His book *Straight Life* is a good read.

- Michael
Nice to play too, but hard to get the same bopping rythmical sound, here is a free transcription (not mine) just search the page for art pepper, some other good stuff here too! Let me know when you master it!

http://chnani.club.fr/ejma/ejrelev.html
 

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Pepper has long been one of my favorite alto players. I prefer him to Bird and Desmond, though I'd probably put Cannonball first.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Art Pepper was jailed for heroin for 3 years after releasing this album!



:sad2:

Since he was not hurting anyone else (except maybe when needing money for drugs) it's pretty messed up that it happened this way. Why did society make such a criminal out of this artist who only needed to feed his own drug habit... seems worse than the drug habit itself!

And after he got out of jail he quit his Martin. :|
 

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Pepper Story

In the early 1980s I was living in London and learning to play the saxophone - and as a side note I was (and still am) a big Art Pepper fan (also huge fan of the album). Anyway, there were many great teachers around in London, some well known others less so - but they were still extremely accomplished players - and being pretty new to jazz I used to love hearing their stories. I made a point of trying to take lessons from players who were old enough to have played in the 40s, 50s and 60s just to hear them reminisce. One such player was an elderly guy - well into his seventies - who taught occasionally and played very rarely. I had about 10 lessons from him before he died. Anyway, he lived in his parents appartment that he had inherited - which was like a strange time capsule from the 1940s itself - still had all the old plumbing but was in a very central part of London. He himself had a great (west coast - zoot sims) tone and very melodic style even though he was getting on in years. One day I commented on this aspect of his playing and he said he had in fact played with a lot of the American west coast guys including Zoot Sims and Art Pepper.
As a matter of fact he said (actually with a hint of sadness) that many years ago Pepper had actually stood in that very room! (At the time I thought it was quite possible that it was still the same furniture too :))
Anyway, his explanation was that a lot of the American bands would pick up local musicians when they toured England - especially the big bands - and he'd ended up playing with many of these touring American bands. They'd bring the stars, like Pepper but a lot of the "chairs" were supplemented by the locals. Sadly I cant remember exactly which band he said pepper was playing with but I think it was the Kenton orchestra - its 25 years ago for me! Anyway, he said that he was a naive young guy and totally in awe of these players. He was actually living in the same appartment - at that time still with his parents. He said that his mother after hearing him idolize these players more than once asked if he wanted to invite them over for "an English Tea". The following day he asked if the sax section (with Pepper of course) would like to come over before their evening performance. They turned up very late at his parents place, very drunk, with Pepper looking the worse for wear. His mother served the tea in the living room. Pepper declined on a cup of tea, then unzipped his fly and urinated on the living room carpet before passing out. Funnily enough he wasnt invited back.
 

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Since he was not hurting anyone else (except maybe when needing money for drugs) it's pretty messed up that it happened this way. Why did society make such a criminal out of this artist who only needed to feed his own drug habit... seems worse than the drug habit itself!
Society did not make Art a druggie criminal. Art had a screwed up upbringing and likely a predisposition to drug abuse and/or other psychoses but did it to himself. And regardless of how many chances he had to reform, continued time and again to continue his life of drug abuse and often criminal activity. Tragic, yes. Imposed by society, I don't believe so. Additionally, Pepper did a lot of damage to others around him. He was hardly a misunderstood saint. You might be interested in his autobiography Straight Life. It's all there.
 

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chkymnky said:
In the early 1980s I was living in London and learning to play the saxophone - and as a side note I was (and still am) a big Art Pepper fan (also huge fan of the album). Anyway, there were many great teachers around in London, some well known others less so - but they were still extremely accomplished players - and being pretty new to jazz I used to love hearing their stories. I made a point of trying to take lessons from players who were old enough to have played in the 40s, 50s and 60s just to hear them reminisce. One such player was an elderly guy - well into his seventies - who taught occasionally and played very rarely. I had about 10 lessons from him before he died. Anyway, he lived in his parents appartment that he had inherited - which was like a strange time capsule from the 1940s itself - still had all the old plumbing but was in a very central part of London. He himself had a great (west coast - zoot sims) tone and very melodic style even though he was getting on in years. One day I commented on this aspect of his playing and he said he had in fact played with a lot of the American west coast guys including Zoot Sims and Art Pepper.
As a matter of fact he said (actually with a hint of sadness) that many years ago Pepper had actually stood in that very room! (At the time I thought it was quite possible that it was still the same furniture too :))
Anyway, his explanation was that a lot of the American bands would pick up local musicians when they toured England - especially the big bands - and he'd ended up playing with many of these touring American bands. They'd bring the stars, like Pepper but a lot of the "chairs" were supplemented by the locals. Sadly I cant remember exactly which band he said pepper was playing with but I think it was the Kenton orchestra - its 25 years ago for me! Anyway, he said that he was a naive young guy and totally in awe of these players. He was actually living in the same appartment - at that time still with his parents. He said that his mother after hearing him idolize these players more than once asked if he wanted to invite them over for "an English Tea". The following day he asked if the sax section (with Pepper of course) would like to come over before their evening performance. They turned up very late at his parents place, very drunk, with Pepper looking the worse for wear. His mother served the tea in the living room. Pepper declined on a cup of tea, then unzipped his fly and urinated on the living room carpet before passing out. Funnily enough he wasnt invited back.
In other words, when you were living in London in the 80s, you knew a musician in his 70's who had played with a lot of the American west coast guys including Zoot Simms and Art Pepper and once when Art was on tour with a big band, had invited Art and his section mates into his parents house for a proper English Tea. They turned up very late and very drunk and when his mother served tea in the living room, Pepper declined the tea, unzipped his fly and urinated on the living room carpet before passing out. :D


You might be interested in knowing that for a long time in England there were strict, protective laws that required touring foreign musicians to use a certain number of native musicians. In Ronnie Scott's autobio, he goes into detail somewhat about this, both from the perspective of a local musician as well as the frustrations of a club owner; an interesting read.
 

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gary said:
Society did not make Art a druggie criminal. Art had a screwed up upbringing and likely a predisposition to drug abuse and/or other psychoses but did it to himself. And regardless of how many chances he had to reform, continued time and again to continue his life of drug abuse and often criminal activity. Tragic, yes. Imposed by society, I don't believe so. Additionally, Pepper did a lot of damage to others around him. He was hardly a misunderstood saint. You might be interested in his autobiography Straight Life. It's all there.
Art's music was incredible, but I have to agree with Gary, I have read the book a few times, and Art comes across as a narcissist at best. He was manipulative and had many, many chances to change

He also had some very strange views on racism, too much to go into here, but not what you would expect from a jazz musician. He also, by his own admittance, raped a girl while over here in the UK. Consider yourself lucky if he just urinated on your carpet.

He tended to drag others into his lifestyle, including wives and girlfriends, causing plenty of misery and even death along the way.

Having said all that, if you watch the documentary "notes from a jazz survivor" then he comes across as a kind and sensitive man, or a very plausible impression of one.

I always like to think, perhaps wrongly, that there must have been some kind of sensitivity within him to be able to play so beautifully. Mind you, I hear Stan Getz was not exactly a nice guy, yet his playing............
 

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The music, the music....

After it's all said and done. Fact, fiction or just jazz lore amoung folks.

THIS RECORD IS HISTORY. Listen to the music- it's as important as anything ever.

That's all.:)
 

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Tim Price said:
After it's all said and done. Fact, fiction or just jazz lore amoung folks.

THIS RECORD IS HISTORY. Listen to the music- it's as important as anything ever.

That's all.:)
The guy made a comeback at 50 after an absense of 15 years and released about 40 albums of good/great/excellent music in the remaining 7 years of his life.

Just today there's an article in the NYT about two "jazz widows" (Laurie Pepper and Sue Mingus) who have spent the last decades keeping the music of their late husbands alive. You can read it here: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/29/arts/music/29kapl.html?ref=music

Well into her sixties, Laurie started her own record label to release some of Art Pepper's never before released concerts (http://www.straightlife.info/widowstaste.html).

So far two concerts have been released (check http://www.myspace.com/artpepper for a few tracks of these) and a third one is in the works that's even better! (check http://www.myspace.com/artpepperquartet)

As Tim says: "listen to the music" :)
 
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