Every month

Every month I'll post a new "taste" of Art Pepper's music as a free download. These tastes are given away because they are "unreleasable" by virtue of the recording being cut off at beginning or end or by brief audio problems that occurred in the recording process.

THEY'RE TOO STUNNING TO HIDE AWAY IN MY FILES AS YOU'LL SOON SEE.

I'll also post occasional snippets from my memoir of my life with Art or current journal entries including updates on new releases.

Monday, June 30, 2014

JUNE, THE MONTH FOR LOVE AND MARRIAGE. SO, WHAT IS THIS THING CALLED LOVE?

FREE: Live at Dontes, Art Pepper, Milcho Leviev, Bob Magnusson, Carl Burnett 1980

 It's late! It's incomplete but it's free, folks!
 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Soundtrack to "ART"


I figure most people are like me, they want to see pictures of the people they read about (so I've got lots of pictures) and they want to hear the MUSIC, too. 

And, like me, they might be a little lazy and not want to plow through the internet, looking for photographs and tracks.

These are specific tracks I talk about in my memoir,
a selection just for readers,
a download just for reference.
 (All tracks but one were beautifully, professionally recorded. I've licensed them from the companies that own them).

 Click HERE to download or stream the MUSIC (and to download the FREEBIE*). And click HERE to buy the book. And click HERE to buy Art Pepper CDs.

*AND AS A BONUS FOR COMING HERE.  ONE FREE TRACK.  LIVE, FROM ATLANTA, IT'S AN INCOMPLETE (part of bass solo missing) BUT BEAUTIFUL VERSION OF PATRICIA.


Monday, May 12, 2014

The MEMOIR is HERE! HUGE DISCOUNT
3 DAYS ONLY

Why I Stuck with a Junkie Jazzman - ART: Why I Stuck with a Junkie Jazzman

STRAIGHT LIFE (at Amazon)
Published in 1979, Straight Life was the story of Art Pepper. He was a deeply troubled, madly gifted artist, an addict. Art told me his story, I wrote it down, and I fell in love with and married that complex and inspiring man. Straight Life, according to enthusiastic reviews in The New Yorker, Time, The Village Voice, etc. became (and remains) a classic. 

ART (at Amazon May 16, 2014)

In Straight Life Art cast himself as a lost, desperate genius and me, at the end, as his angel of rescue. During our marriage we worked successfully together to enact that story. But I was no angel, and we rescued each other. ART is a memoir of that marriage. This is a paperback book, 382 pages, 100 photos, and with a complete index

On May 16, the book will sell for $20

BUT RIGHT NOW

on May 13, 14, and 15

I'm selling it for 60% off. That's $8.00 
Go HERE, buy it, and when you check out
enter this discount code.  GF4UNB8B
It's only good for 3 days. 
Journalists, contact me for a super-deluxe discount code!

CONTACT LAURIE

Thursday, April 17, 2014

FREE: But Beautiful! It's April...

...and my MEMOIR may very well be out next month!  Check out my SITE.



Okay: Here's the music, and it's FREE. But, well, you know…

Thursday, February 27, 2014

FREE: PASSION, LOVE, TERROR: MUSIC



THE FREEBIE this month was suggested to me while I worked on my memoir of my life with Art -- Due out in April or May of this year.


The background: In 1977 Art recorded for three nights at the Village Vanguard with George Cables, George Mraz, and Elvin Jones.  This tune was released on the very first album from that session, Thursday Night at the Village Vanguard, though it was recorded on Saturday, the final night. And it was edited a bit for that release by John Koenig who thought the ending "lugubrious." I always regretted that edit and was given a chance to restore the original just as Art played it when I worked with Fantasy Records to release a complete boxed set of the session. Unfortunately none of the Vanguard material is currently available from the label.

Here's the bit from my memoir that made me long to hear this tune again.

They recorded for three nights. What you can hear now in those recordings of Art’s voice on the last night was not a drug-induced stupor. It was a stupor induced by a lack of drugs: His nose had finally swollen shut. He hadn’t really slept for about a week, hadn’t been persuaded to eat much more than an occasional candy bar for longer than that. He could hardly stand. That evening he had passed out in the hotel room, his face on a glass-topped bed-table which held his last few lines of coke. I roused him and brought him to the gig. John's [John Snyder's] assistant helped me get him there. 


Photo by Mitchell Seidel


The table’s edge had left a deep crease in Art’s cheek, like a thick scar, and he was dead-eyed, yellowish, and emaciated inside these stiff, slightly iridescent clothes he’d bought earlier on the tour at some pimp shoppe he’d found in Dayton (of all places). In the kitchen of the Vanguard, waiting to perform, he passed out again. Then it was time to go on. "He stumbled to the stage, stood in front of the mike with his horn, and faced the audience," I wrote in the liner note for the release of the whole set years later: "and suddenly he was alive. Alive! And yes, he was a monster. Listen to him play 'Cherokee,' of all things, the tune he always said separated the real jazz players from the play ones. Listen to him fly." The album was released by John Koenig after Les died the following year. The reviews were rhapsodic and it was a hit––in the small, international way great jazz albums sometimes are. 

 If there is any track on any album that sums up the beauty and power of Art’s triumphant artist’s soul, his gift, it’s the heartbreaking “Goodbye” he played that night and dedicated to his old friend, Hampton Hawes, "Who’s holding a place up above for all of us cats here on the stage.” For me it’s the strongest and most passionate performance he ever gave. I’ve heard Art tell an audience that playing jazz was like an exorcism. He summoned up his demons to demolish them. He mined his pain, confusion, desperation, anger, grief (also his passion, tenderness, and joy), to triumph in his music. He used his emotional past, hectic present, and his terrible fears and wild hopes about the future to connect with his listeners. He gave form to their feeling. He was an artist, and he won the battle every time. He won it at the Vanguard.


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Let's start the new year off with a FREEBIE!

Incomplete, but don't complain.  It's a stunner.

In 1980, Art performed at a club in Geneva, Switzerland: The New Morning.
One night of that gig was recorded and it's ALL just beautiful.  Meanwhile, here's a nine-minute taste I cooked up today.  Audio quality not great, but the music's fabulous.

In 2013 I promised a gift to all those who donated to Widow's Taste during the year. I'm giving you donors the whole TWO HOURS of music from that night. I'm immensely grateful for the encouragement and the cash. Download codes will be sent to you in a special email. Look for it.
I promise I'll make the whole thing available to everybody else (for a reasonable price) as a download later on in 2014.

P.S. I'm having a problem viewing and hearing the Player in Chrome! If you have problems with Chrome try another browser. It's here. Right here!

Monday, December 9, 2013

FREE for December: Rhythm-A-Ning


Photo:  Art and George Mraz at Fat Tuesday's 1981

Art Pepper, Milcho Leviev, George Mraz, Al Foster.  

It's free, but take note…..

It's Free, But

The music biz is awful
'cause some people like to steal it
But my little tiny label
Is saying, "Don't you FEEL it?
Everybody worked so HARD to record it and preserve it."
Nahh, the parasitic thieves, figure they just plain deserve it.

Cho:
 If you respect the music, keep it flowing.
If you respect the artists keep them going.
If you respect my label drop some money in the bucket
Or I'll go broke, give up,
and finally say, "Oh…….."

P.S.  This year's donors: A New Year's Surprise is coming!



Monday, October 28, 2013

COMING NOVEMBER 4TH!!!! UH, OKAY, NOVEMBER 6TH!!!! (2013!)


THE 8TH IN THIS COLLECTORS' SERIES 
AVAILABLE NOW AT CDBABY.COM FOR $12.97



MEANWHILE
some people have discovered my little secret-advance-upload to bandcamp and they've been downloading the whole album (about 60 minutes of music) in any digital format they want along with a PDF of the booklet and cover, etc. for $9 You can do that...

HERE

A 2 minute sample:  

.
Or you can wait for the CD.  Below are some advance reviews:






And here are the reviews!



Art Pepper: Unreleased Art Vol. VIII - Live At The Winery, September 6, 1976

By
C. MICHAEL BAILEY, ALL ABOUT JAZZ
Published: October 28, 2013
Art Pepper: Art Pepper: Unreleased Art Vol. VIII - Live At The Winery, September 6, 1976Laurie Pepper, widow of alto saxophonist Art Pepper, has been shepherding the artist's discography since the turn of the millenia.Unreleased Art Vol. VIII: Live At The Winery, September 6, 1976reveals there may be no end in sight for unreleased material from this important jazz musician. Ms. Pepper has done a couple of things different this time. One, she is releasing a performance by Pepper early in his comeback, after the release of Living Legend(Contemporary, 1975), Pepper's first recording since 1960'sIntensity (Contemporary) and before his triumphant appearance at New York City's Village Vanguard, documented on The Complete Village Vanguard Sessions(Contemporary, 1977). (Note: Pepper is captured on a handful of live recordings during those 15 years, but these were largely bootlegs that made their way to vinyl and then CD.) 

Second, she releases a performance where Pepper plays with "alternate" sidemen, artists not associated with Pepper at the height of his comeback (like pianists George Cables andMilcho Leviev, bassists Tony Dumas and Bob Magnusson and drummers Billy Higgins andCarl Burnette). The music recorded here is somewhat of a "missing link" and is, indeed, revelatory, almost in the biblical sense. Pepper had been working as an accountant in the bakery of a fellow Synanon veteran when he emerged to play "casuals" (weddings and Bar Mitzvahs) and, eventually to begin recording again. 

Fifteen years is a long time between records. It may be the myopic view of the past considering recordings like Art Pepper Meets The Rhythm Section (Contemporary, 1957) and Art Pepper + Eleven: The Modern Jazz Classics (Contemporary, 1959). These were game-changing recordings made under the most challenging circumstances. 

There is nothing Romantic about chemical dependency or its consequences. It does not enhance creativity; it exists as an impediment to all that could be. Nor should one believe the artist is not changed by the experience: not Charlie Parker, not Frank Morgan, not Art Pepper. The Art Pepper here in the Bicentennial is dramatically different from that of these previous recordings. His tone is harsher and more dry and he still shows the remnants of John Coltrane, who captured his imagination in the 1960s. But, Pepper in the mid-1970s was no developing artist unfinished; he was fully realized and in nuclear transition. He is the musical sum of all he has done and all he has seen. 

In 1979, Art and Laurie Pepper published perhaps the finest jazz biography written, Straight Life: the Story of Art Pepper (Da Capo Press). It provides a roadmap and discography where Pepper's work can be conveniently identified and considered in context. According to Pepper's discography atJazzdisco.org, the altoist's appearance at the Paul Masson Winery, September 6, 1976 took place between his recording as a sideman on Art Farmer: On The Road (Contemporary, 1976) and Pepper's own follow-up to Living LegandThe Trip (Contemporary, 1976). Pepper was getting serious traction just ahead of his first tour of Japan early in 1977. He had been teaching jazz clinics and playing casuals, getting ready for the rest of his productive but too-short life. 

Live At The Winery, September 6, 1976 is made up of six songs inner-dispersed with Pepper's grateful and sincere stage banter. The disc opens with possibly Pepper's most passionate reading of the Juan Tizol classic "Caravan." Written for the Duke Ellington orchestra, "Caravan" was composed with a Middle Eastern flavor in mind, but in the hands of Pepper and local pianist Smith Dobson, it is a samba bullet shot from a Latin jazz gun. Pepper gives a long introduction before steering into the familiar theme, fighting a guerrilla war for the next ten minutes of exhilarating performance. 

Pepper follows with an angular original composition, "Ophelia" from Living Legend, that would show up many more times in his live performances. A ballad master, Pepper presents "Here's That Rainy Day" also from Living Legend and earlier, displaying the complete command of the form that would reach its pinnacle on Winter Moon (Galaxy, 1980). The band follows with "What Laurie Likes," a blues-funk piece suggesting Pepper's future masterpiece "Red Car" from his next studio recording. 

Pepper closes with his be bop-infused "Straight Life" and "Saratoga Blues" demonstrating that he is a master of that idiom also. "Caravan" is a revelation on this recording as is "Make a List (Make a Wish)" from Art Pepper: Unreleased Art, Vol. III; The Croydon Concert, May 14, 1981 (Widow's Taste, 2008). Pepper was capable of reinvention, evolution and perfection in his quest to become the greatest alto saxophonist. Mission accomplished.

Track Listing: Caravan; Ophelia; Here’s That Rainy Day; What Laurie Likes; Straight Life; Saratoga Blues.
Personnel: Art Pepper: alto saxophone; Smith Dobson: piano; Jim Nichols: bass; Brad Bilborn: drums.
Record Label: Widow's Taste

Art Pepper Unreleased Art Vol. III Live At The Winery Sept. 6, 1976
The legacy of one of the greatest alto voices since Charlie Parker lives on!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
With perhaps the exception of Lee Konitz, the artistry of Art Pepper is perhaps the singular most important voice coming from the ranks of the alto saxophone since the passing of the great Charlie Parker.
The particular gig spotlighted with this release was from the start of Art's last comeback although despite a myriad of personal issues the artistic brilliance that is Art Pepper never really goes away, it merely became sidetracked on occasion. The ensemble on this particular date included pianist Smith Dobson, bassist Jim Nichols and drummer Brad Bilhorn. Ballads were the lyrical wheelhouse of Art Pepper and the cover of "Here's That Rainy Day" is perhaps one of those rare tunes that can easily be identified with an instrumentalist with the magic to transform the number into a soulful wonderland of harmonic possibilities. "Ophelia" was a tune composed for Art's drug-addicted second wife and is chameleon like in presentation, changing colors and meters but all with a smoldering swing that Pepper seemed to have the uncanny ability to unleash at a moments notice. "What Laurie Likes" is an Art Pepper original that takes a walk on the funk side and as typical for Pepper's vision, slightly ahead of the curve. Closing out this incredibly engaging set we have "Saratoga Blues." Arguably we have Art Pepper as perhaps the finest lyrical player with a soulful and soul filled approach to ballads and blues that places him well ahead of the pack both then and now.
Art Pepper's widow, Laurie Pepper is still perusing a plethora of material that is obviously of the highest quality and should afford those that perhaps are not as familiar with Pepper's gift the opportunity to become acquainted with an artist that embodies the strictest definition of the word virtuoso. Much like Chet Baker and Bill Evans, Art Pepper left us way too soon.  
You never review greatness, you celebrate. Nevertheless, a five star effort.
Tracks: Caravan; Ophelia; Here's That Rainy Day; What Laurie Likes" Straight Life; Saratoga Blues.
Personnel: Art Pepper: Alto Saxophone; Smith Dobson: Piano; Jim Nichols: Bass; Brad Bilhorn: Drums.



WIDOW'S TASTE 
ART PEPPER/Unreleased Art Vol VIII-Live at the Winery September 6, 1976: The amazing Pepper archives continue to issue forth with previously unheard material that continues to be mind blowing. Recorded with his NoCal crew at the beginning of his last comeback, Pepper is inspired and playing like someone half his age in twice his health. Crisply recorded from the soundboard at a jazz festival at Paul Masson Winery, something other than posterity was inspiring Pepper to let the fur fly that night in such mighty fashion. With the kind of inspired playing you think you'd have to be closer than most of a continent away from Highway 61 to turn in, whether he's hitting it out of the park on classics or originals you've heard before, you've never heard them like this. The better part of 40 years later, he can still teach the young ‘uns a thing or two about playing like a runaway train and keeping it melodic and in the pocket. Killer stuff that shows we're a long way from nothing but scraps being left on this table. Check it out, all the cats here are on fire. 
-Midwest Record Blog-

--- S. Victor Aaron, Something Else Reviews
In 2007, twenty five years after Art Pepper’s death, his widow Laurie began issuing concert recordings of her late husband covering the period of his remarkable renaissance of the last seven years of his life. By working with — or to frustrate — the bootleggers, Mrs. Pepper obtained these rough recordings, handed them over to Wayne Peet for remastering, and issued good-to-great sound quality live records. This Unreleased Art series has been a “win-win” by making these live performances widely available for Art Pepper fans while recouping for Laurie some due compensation for his sweat. A third win comes from further solidifying the legacy of one of post-bop’s most electrifying alto saxophonists.
We don’t know how many of these concert recordings she has left up her sleeve, but we’re now up to Volume Eight with the impending release of Unreleased Art, Vol. VIII, Live At The Winery September 6, 1976.
With Pepper being remarkably consistent in his comeback period, the intrigue of Vol. VIII apart from the previous volumes is that the concert covered in this instance came years earlier, shortly following the release of his “comeback” album Living Legend, and the set includes three of Legend‘s six tracks. Moreover, this is Art backed by his just-assembled “Northern California” band: Smith Dobson (piano); Jim Nichols (bass); Brad Bilhorn (drums), not the bigger names that were to become a part of his touring band in a few years, but plenty competent. Derived from the soundboard, the fidelity is adequate, but the mixing is better.
Vol. VIII confirms what other mid-seventies Pepper recordings already suggest: that Pepper had regained all of his old mojo after substance abuse and rehab had sidelined his career for the better part of fifteen years. He swings like he invented it on the sturdy standard “Caravan,” tears through his rapid-fire lines on “Straight Life,” and aces the lyricism demanded of his own song, “Ophelia.” This is one of the earlier renditions of “Ophelia” captured live, a song that would remain on his set list to the end of his life.
Another one of the originals from Living Legend performed on this night was “What Laurie Likes,” where Nichols plays a funky electric bass line that would have been right at home on a Crusaders record of that period. It’s also where you’ll find Pepper’s great adaptive skills to contemporary sounds, playing along to the groove like Eddie Harris and tossing in outside jazz phrasings at the crescendo part of his solo. In typical fashion, a blues is included, which he waited until the encore to lay one on his audience, another Pepper-penned tune “Sarasota Blues.” Oh yeah, Art was a master of the blues, as this performance demonstrates.
There’s nothing to complain about the support he gets, either; Dobson follows Pepper’s solo on “Caravan” with one that’s just as vigorous, amply supported by Bilhorn’s forceful drums. Nichols’ Larry Graham-inspired bass solo on “Laurie” is a treat that was probably rarely heard in an Art Pepper concert, since Pepper would soon cease playing crossover songs like this one shortly afterwards.
That all said, perhaps the biggest treat of Unreleased Art, Vol. VIII is simply that it provides another occasion to go back and listen to one of the greats of the old school sax players. It’s another reminder that even most of the class of the new school still has a lot of catching up to do.  

Art Pepper: Unreleased Art - Vol. VIII (2013)

By 
VICTOR L. SCHERMER, All About Jazz 
Published: November 11, 2013
Art Pepper: Art Pepper: Unreleased Art - Vol. VIII (2013)After recovering from a hellish descent into drug addiction, crime, and incarceration, the legendary alto saxophonist Art Pepper resurrected himself as a player. He accomplished several fine recordings, a number of live performances on the US West Coast, a couple of important stops in New York, and a notable tour of Japan. Pepper thus had a few good years in the late 1970s and died all too soon of a stroke in 1982 at the age of 56. His comeback was not just a has-been's effort at squeezing out a few good shows. He achieved a genuine resilience, stretched the scope of his work, and gathered top musicians to accompany him. In recent years, Laurie Pepper has issued a series of recordings from that era, Unreleased Art which she gathered after his death. Some of them, like this one, are treasures. 

The current CD, the eighth in the series, was recorded live at a jazz festival at the Paul Masson Winery in Saratoga, California on September 6, 1976. The group consisted of local musicians, and at that time the San Francisco area boasted a coterie of talented players who worked locally, especially in the neighborhood of Half Moon Bay on the coast, south of the city. On this occasion, pianist Smith Dobson, bassist Jim Nichols, and drummer Brad Bilhorn, though not among the international legends who were familiar partners for Pepper, provided strong backing for his work. 

The album starts off with an energetic version of Dizzy Gillespie's "Caravan," which begins with improvised lines typical of Pepper's early style. His quickness and alert phrasing are unblemished, and his tempos are faster, but his sound is slightly thinner than in his early days. (Whether intentional or the result of diminished health from the years of addiction, the sharpness of sound isn't offensive but gives a bit of a "beat generation" feeling.) Smith Dobson offers some strong soloing on piano, reflecting the bebop era style that characterizes the whole set. 

In his original tune, "Ophelia," which appears on several of his recordings, Pepper uses the simple three-note melody as a motif for improvising complex lines. One is reminded of his early days when he was, relatively speaking, more laid back and light. 

"Here's that Rainy Day" is a gem, one of those truly great ballad renditions in the jazz archives. Pepper, who always played ballads without breaking out into double time swing mode, used a minimalized touch of vibrato and captured the sad mood of the piece by his soft sonority and sustaining of notes at the end of phrases, especially the drone-like fifth which recurs in the melody. The beauty of this rendition is priceless. 

The mood then shifts to a hard-driven blues, "What Laurie Likes," with occasional preacher-like wails of the type which are usually reserved for the upper register of the tenor saxophone. Dobson's piano clusters add to the soulful gospel-like energy, which reaches a frenetic peak in the last chorus. The influence of John Coltrane and McCoy Tyner can be felt here. 

The phrase and the tune "Straight Life" are forever associated with Pepper's well-known autobiography. This version displays his vigorous adeptness at rapid runs. The recording ends with a laid back "Saratoga Blues," which seems somewhat of an afterthought. 

There is an honesty in Pepper's playing—it is never sentimental or flashy. As a result, the overall impact of the album is a renewed appreciation of his remarkable resilience and improvisational capacity, tempered by a touch of sadness which may have remained for him after he recovered from his addiction.

Track Listing: Caravan; Talk: Band Intros; Ophelia; Here’s that Rainy Day; Talk: About Smith Dobson: Intro to What Laurie Likes; What Laurie Likes; Straight Life; Saratoga Blues.
Personnel: Art Pepper: alto saxophone: Smith Dobson: piano; Jim Nichols: bass; Brad Bilhorn: drums.
Record Label: Widow's Taste

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Music Almost Free: 15 Spectacular minutes. And I mean spectacular.

I'm charging a whole dollar for this track which is over 15 minutes long.  It was recorded during Art's first tour of Japan with his own group.  This was a spectacular performance.  A legitimate album—featuring all tracks recorded that night at that concert hall—was for a time in very limited release in Japan, and pirated recordings exist as well.

Art wrote this gorgeous ROMANTIC ballad—which becomes solid screaming FUNK—for me!
I suggest you play it LOUD.
Me and Art (Photo by Phil Bray)

As I say, I'm charging a dollar per download, and you can, if you want to, pay more to
support
more
Art.