Art Pepper, legendary alto sax player, is known as one of the greatest jazz artists of his generation. But he always soared far beyond the dated categories of swing and be-bop in his lyricism, technical brilliance, soulfulness, and solid, down-home raunchy sweetness.
As Art's widow and his fan, I hate seeing a generation growing up ignorant of his music. His commercial albums are consigned to the "vaults" of record companies fighting to keep current, and there's nothing I can do about it.
But there is something I can do about the non-commercial stuff. There is gorgeous material at large which remains unreleased and un-heard or else released in careless pirated recordings featuring inaccurate information and poor sound quality. These pirated recordings are a boon, because the music is at least available. But they are also annoying on many levels. As Art's beneficiary he supposed I'd be entitled to a "taste," of anything released after his death. We're talking about jazz here, though, and a taste, the "Widow's Taste" I'm after, is bound to be small. But legally, the tracks belong to me. The bootlegs are also annoying because it seems that anything goes, and many performances have been released at the wrong speed or varying speeds, and thus out of tune! Art never played out of tune! So the music I'm releasing is also MY taste, the widow's taste in terms of the performances I like, and the quality I require.
So Widow's Taste is releasing a series of previously unreleased Art Pepper material. Volumes I, II, III, IV, V and VI are available now. And yet another, Art Pepper at the Jazz Showcase in '77 -- reclaimed from the pirates, is also available(Read about it!)
The satisfactions of this project are huge. I get to plough through a lot of great music and memories: documents and photos, and remaster all the tracks, so they sound like they ought to. The albums are beautiful, I think, to look at and to hear. And in my notes, I try to make the listener feel (s)he's there with me and the band and the crowd at each specific gig. I hear great things from fans (read some of the reviews at CD Baby).
So this is "Widow's Taste." And what I'm doing here, is:
-I'm introducing unreleased and unheard Art to people who love him and want to hear him.
-I'm introducing Art Pepper to people who thought they knew what jazz was (incomprehensible bebop), so they can correct that awful impression and fill their lives with soulful beauty.
-I'm introducing Art Pepper to people who thought they knew what jazz was (Kenny G) and didn't like it. If you like Kenny G, just go away. There's nothing for you here.
Purchase / Listen
The Concord releases.
Great, comprehensive Art Pepper site.
Art Pepper at Amazon Music.