Personnel: Art Pepper (alto saxophone); Ed Kelly (piano); Kenny Jenkins (bass); Brad Bilhorn (drums).
Recorded live at The Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, Half Moon Bay, California on September 28, 1975. Includes liner notes by Ed Michel.
Digitally remastered by Dave Luke (2000 Fantasy Studios).
Personnel: Art Pepper (alto saxophone); Ed Kelly (piano); Brad Bilhorn (drums).
Liner Note Author: Ed Michel.
Recording information: Bach Dancing And Dynamite Society, Half Moon Bay, CA (09/28/1975).
Photographer: Phil Bray.
Renascence is an appropriate title for this 1975 performance because in the mid-'70s, Art Pepper experienced a creative rebirth. Thanks to his self-destructive lifestyle, the alto saxophonist had wasted a lot of time; anyone who has read his disturbing autobiography, Straight Life, can tell you that Pepper, like Charlie Parker and Chet Baker, was his own worst enemy. But in 1975, he was getting his act together. The saxophone, not drugs, was his top priority, and in August 1975, he made his long overdue return to the studio with Living Legend, his first studio recording as a leader since 1960. Many of those who bought Living Legend and caught Pepper live in 1975 agreed that he was playing the hell out of his horn, although some listeners preferred the softer, cool-toned Pepper of the 1950s over the tougher, more aggressive, John Coltrane-influenced Pepper of Living Legend. Recorded live in Half Moon Bay, CA, on September 28, 1975, Renascence finds the saxman in fine form on gutsy, authoritative performances of "Straight Life," Tadd Dameron's "Good Bait," and "What Laurie Likes" (a funky soul-jazz item along the lines of Eddie Harris' "Listen Here"). Pepper's reading of "Here's That Rainy Day" demonstrates that he was as soulful as ever when it came to ballads, but the up-tempo performances are definitely a departure from the more subtle Pepper of the 1950s. The L.A. native (who turned 50 in 1975) is joined by pianist Ed Kelly, bassist Kenny Jenkins, and drummer Brad Bilhorn on this CD, which falls short of essential but is rewarding nonetheless and is well worth acquiring if you're an admirer of his late period. ~ Alex Henderson