After Art Pepper returned to the scene in 1975, it took him two years to get noticed outside of Los Angeles. His initial visit to Japan was a major turning point, and music from one of the very well-received concerts was released for the first time on this 1995 CD. Pepper performs four numbers -- "Cherokee," ahis original "The Spirit Is Here," a passionate "Here's That Rainy Day" and a speedy workout on "Straight Life" -- with a quintet comprised of Clare Fischer (who unfortunately sticks exclusively to electric piano), bassist Rob Fisher, drummer Peter Riso and percussionist Poncho Sanchez. For the final three numbers -- "Manteca," "Manha De Carnaval" and "Felicidade" -- the group is joined by vibraphonist Cal Tjader (this is the only time he ever recorded with Pepper) and guitarist Bob Redfield. The unexpected enthusiasm of the crowd really got to Pepper and his improvisations (even though he is not playing with his regular group) are quite inspired. Memorable music.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow