Art Pepper

Unreleased Art, Vol. 3: Croydon Concert

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In Unreleased Art, Vol. 3 of the Unreleased Art series, Laurie Pepper unearths yet another unreleased tape of a late-period Art Pepper performance -- this time courtesy of an obsessive fan who had access to prime-sounding material. This double-CD set takes in a full concert from Pepper's working band of 1981, caught while on an exhausting tour of Europe and the U.K. -- 18 dates in 21 days. By this time, after two years on the road, the team of Pepper, pianist Milcho Leviev -- who from the testimony of Laurie Pepper's notes evidently had a tempestuous working relationship with the alto saxophonist -- bassist Bob Magnusson and drummer Carl Burnett had the mutual ESP going good and hard. Art the populist is in supreme jazz-funk form in Disc One, opening with an earthy blues for his pet cat, "Blues for Blanche," sounding like an alto Eddie Harris on "Ophelia," and working out the Latin soul groove in "Mambo de la Pinta." Disc Two spotlights Art the eclectic, jumping into the straight bebop with "Cherokee" at a runaway tempo, occasionally venturing on the outside. Collectors' alert: "Dedicated" appears to be a one-of-a-kind track -- debuted by Pepper in Croydon but never played again -- a thoughtful, Coltrane-esque, minor-key blues waltz. "Make a List (Make a Wish)" finishes the concert in a Les McCann-like groove that drives on for over 20 minutes and doesn't wear out its welcome. This set makes the case more extensively than most posthumous releases that Pepper was an underrated jazz funkster as well as a passionate Coltrane-influenced mainstreamer. The excellent sound quality -- with an exceptionally good pickup of Magnusson's bass -- leads one to speculate that this baby came off the soundboard.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Title/Composer Performer Time
1
12:41
2
4:34
3
11:36
4
14:48
5
19:43

Track Listing - Disc 2

Title/Composer Performer Time
1
12:55
2
11:58
3
9:38
4
9:43
5
20:05
blue highlight denotes track pick