Selection 1: What’s Right for You
Selection 2: Melancholy Madeline
Selection 3: Somewhere Over The Rainbow
A tune that must have gone through Art’s mind many times while in the pen.
Art Pepper (as) Marty Paich (p) Buddy Clark (b) Frank Capp (d) Warden Smith (bars) Radio Recorders, Hollywood, CA, August, 1956
The Black-and-white portable TV set hits the shops, millions discover there is nothing worth watching on TV, from any room in the house; IBM invents the hard disk drive – 5mb; Tefal revolutionises breakfast with the first non-stick Frying Pan; US tests H-Bomb on Bikini Atoll. Bikini surrenders.
Pepper spent 1953-6 “indoors”, recording this soon after his release. Record companies seemed uncertain whether to feature Art as leader so it was released as the Marty Paich Quartet album “featuring Art Pepper”. All the tracks are a brief two to three minutes so you get a selection here, but my favourite is the wistful Somewhere over the Rainbow, which feels to me a lament for three lost years indoors.
The following year, he recorded his masterpiece Art Pepper Meets The Rhythm Section, in his own name, and a string of great albums, but it wasn’t to last. 1961-4 Art went missing again, playing with the San Quentin All-stars.
If ever a moral compass lost direction it was in the criminalisation of drug addicted musicians. Art was arrested for “possession” of narcotics as he came out of a dealer’s house. That is like arresting people coming out of a supermarket for being in possession of shopping. Pepper says he never reformed, so incarceration didn’t achieve anything anyway.
For the time being I have given up reading Pepper’s biography Straight Life, as it wasn’t helping me understand anything, other than how self-destructive the life of a jazz musician was in those times. Flawed as individuals, their day seemed to revolve around getting drugs and then being off your face for the rest of it. Pepper had a sublime alto voice, which seems strangely disconnected from his view about himself, no sense of mission to play and develop his “art” like a Coltrane. No doubt I’ll get back into to it but may be skip the chapters about the time indoors. For that I can watch Prison Break, on my Black and White portable.
Vinyl: London LZ-U 14040 10″ Below is what the original looks like.
I have only notice one area that ticks, on the first band lead in grooves. It only ticks a few times. There is a tiny bit of background noise from this 55 year old recording, but that is expected on such a record. …The sound is superb with ART PEPPER doing a superb job on every cut. I feel this is the finest sounding records that Art and Marty ever recorded.” (It sold for $860)
My vinyl, the ever so humble London American UK original release, pressed by Decca, on the less evil and ever so slightly smaller 10″ black disk.
Source: the late Brian Clark collection, without cover.
Fake cover as the 10″ original cover was missing, I poached one from a Japanese press I had purchased earlier. I couldn’t understand why the mint japanese vinyl had all these clicks and pops. Then a friend pointed out they must have come from the original. To my surprise the japanese pressing had cheekily been recorded by scraping tracks from an original vinyl, tics and all. Well, its still got a few tics, one way or the other.
Its so tempting not to fake the label as well:
All I need to do then is …fake the red vinyl..umm….foiled…