Art Pepper: More West Coast


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In February, I posted about two superb Art Pepper albums that have were remastered on the Omnivore label. The recordings were originally made for the Japanese Atlas label, with Pepper's featured guest as the leader so he could get around his contracts with Fantasy. One was with Pete Jolly and the other was with Sonny Stitt.

Two more in the Atlas series have just be remastered. One features Pepper with alto saxophonist Lee Konitz, Mike Lang (p), Bob Magnusson (b) and John Dentz (d). The other is with trombonist Bill Watrous, Russ Freeman (p), Bob Magnusson (b) and Carl Burnett (d). The new reissues were co-produced by Pepper's wife, Laurie, who wrote the liner notes, and Cheryl Pawelski, who has a heart for the past and ears for high sonic standards. The former originally was released as High Jingo : Lee Konitz & His West Coast Friends (1982) and the latter was Funk 'N' Fun (1979).

Pepper and Konitz had not recorded together prior to this 1980 session. It's fascinating to hear Konitz's dry tone up against and Pepper's juicy reed, particularly on Pepper's High Jingo and Cherokee. There are two previously unreleased alternate takes on this one—'S Wonderful and Whims of Chambers.

Pepper and Watrous together is another fascinating pairing. Watrous has a soft, insistent tone akin to Urbie Green's, and he frames Pepper's insistent style perfectly. Dig Just Friends, Angel Eyes and Pepper's Funny Blues.

Art Pepper died in 1982.

JazzWax clips: Here's Konitz and Pepper playing A Minor Blues in F...

And here's Pepper and Bill Watrous playing Just Friends...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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