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 journal entries including updates on new releases.

Friday, June 2, 2017

IT'S FREE FREE FREE, JUST BECAUSE IT'S JUNE JUNE JUNE!




Time for something just a little bit different.

[Scroll down to hear the music]  Short version: In 1981 Art was touring with Milcho Leviev, Tony Dumas, and Carl Burnett. After the gig one night, under the influence, Art wrote a tune. (see the full story, below, from "ART"). In the excitement and confusion of touring, the tune was forgotten. After Art died, the following year, I found the music Art had scribbled, got curious, and asked Milcho, who was still living in Los Angeles at that time, if he could make anything of it. I wanted to hear it! We got together at his house and he worked out what he believed Art had in mind. Being a prolific and brilliant composer, himself, Milcho may have added or subtracted details as he read it. I'll leave that judgment to musicians who can view and hear the music, now. 


Written in Paris by Art Pepper



As reconstructed by Milcho Leviev




Milcho and Art


Here's Milcho, working out the tune




And Here's the Story:


Paris—Heroin (from ART: Why I Stuck with a Junkie Jazzman)

    In May of ’81, Art played a big nightclub in Paris with Milcho, Tony, and Carl. We arrived at our extremely modest hotel on the first day of the gig sans promoter to discover that we had no reservations and the desk clerk spoke no English. While the band loitered and Art moaned, I questioned the clerk in French, got the one remaining room in that hotel for us, and had him make reservations for the rest of the fellows at a place he recommended just two blocks away. He made the call, gave me directions; I translated and dazzled everyone. Myself most of all. On the other hand, later, when Art left his dentures on the bed-table of this Paris hotel room and I called from Holland saying my husband had forgot his teeth, I heard great gales of laughter on the other end. I’d said “dents” (his actual teeth, as if extracted from his gums) when what I meant was dentiers.


Art, Roger, Alain
 Our careless impresario in Paris was a beautiful young fellow named Alain who revealed that he sniffed heroin occasionally, declaring, though, “I am not ’ooked.” He wasn’t hooked, addicted. At this, Art caught my glance, rolling his eyes with amusement. “Oh, no,” he said, nodding his head at Alain’s emaciation. “Of course you’re not.”
   Later that evening, while Art was playing on the stage, Alain approached me. Art, it seemed, had asked Alain to sell him just a little heroin. I said okay. But just a little, and no needles.       After the gig we met in the tiny office of the club and Alain laid out some lines. I told Art I wanted some. Okay, he said, but just a tiny bit. He worried it might be too strong for me. Alain and Art both had their tastes, and then I sniffed a half a bitty line.
   “Just wait” they said. I waited. Nothing. The three of us left the office and walked out into the Paris night. I was getting dizzy and staggered a bit and they grabbed my arms to steady me. I was nauseous, but I wasn’t high.
   “Wait,” they said. The nausea built. Art was in a happy mood. He’d bought a gram of this stuff wrapped in a little folded paper. We sat down at a sidewalk cafe. It was two or three in the morning, but there was a crowd of people eating, and a young entertainer strolled along the curb with a guitar doing a Bob Dylan impersonation:
   “How does it feeeeeeeel?
   I ordered a piece of cake, took a bite and spat it out. My skin was hot and prickly, my mouth was dry, my stomach in my throat. “I feel as if I’ve just taken rat poison,” I muttered. 
    “Wait,” they said. 
    “How does it feeeeeeeel? To be on your own?” 
    “God,” says Art, “he sounds just like Bobby Dylan! Baby, give him some money!”
    “Money!” I growled. “If he doesn’t shut up I’m going to throw my coffee at him.”
      I begged Art to return to the hotel with me where we were both unable to sleep. He turned the light back on and wrote a song. I kneeled at the toilet, first vomiting, then heaving dryly. I told Art I hated heroin; it was disgusting stuff, no fun at all. He said, “You’re really lucky.” His voice had envy—also pity—in it.
   As dawn broke Art asked me if I’d like to take a walk. It was so rare for him to ever want to do anything but perform and recuperate from performing. I washed my face, got dressed. It was barely dim morning. It was May. The air was warm. We wandered for a block or so and found ourselves on the Champs Elysées, at the Arc de Triomphe. I took Art’s picture. He took mine.


   I smelled fresh bread, coffee. We walked into a bar/tabac,  picturesque except for the video game electronically chiming and pinging. We stood at the bar, where Frenchmen drank liquors at 5 A.M., and ordered coffee and croissants. Art was in a great mood. I sipped the coffee, which made me gag, but I was so happy to be playing tourist with my husband.

    Somebody once asked Art to name his favorite city. He said Paris. Why, they asked. “Because you can get anything you want there,” he replied.”

2 comments:

  1. Great blog! It deserves a wider following. I listened to Art and band playing "What's New." George Cables was the perfect pianist for Art. The whole band was terrific, as were just about all the bands that he recorded with, following his comeback. Anyway. I'm happy to see Art's artistry kept alive. Your writing is exceptional ,as well. Hopefully, one day soon, some film producer will finally make "Straight Life." Martin Scorsese to direct, maybe? That'd do it! I'd think.

    ReplyDelete