Monday, August 01, 2005

Art Pepper

Art Pepper's autograph Posted by Picasa

Another entry from "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz"…..

Up until about 1979, Art Pepper was someone I deliberately ignored. Why? Because I knew he played with Stan Kenton and have never (even today!) cared for Kenton’s music.

Fortunately for me, one of my friends, Laurence McFalls, educated me. Laurence also didn’t care for Kenton and explained to me what Pepper’s playing was all about. It didn’t fit into the mold that I had pre-conceived. His playing was swinging, interesting, full of surprises and continued to evolve through his life.

If you read his interviews or his autobiography "Straight Life," sometimes Pepper comes across as cocky. This is what I expected when I asked him for his autograph. But like many others, he was unfamiliar with the book and was flattered to find himself included in it. He wrote "My best, be cool and enjoy, Art Pepper."

In a music with many tragic figures, Art Pepper certainly stood out. Just when he had put addiction and prison behind him, with a successful career looming ahead, Art Pepper succumbed to a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 56 in 1982.

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