Art Pepper - Roadgame (1981)
Original Release Date: August 15, 1981
Release Date Mar 21, 1993
Bitrate: 320 kbps
Recorded at Maiden Voyage, Los Angeles, California on August 15, 1981.
Altoist Art Pepper's 1981 appearances at Los Angeles' now-obsolete Maiden Voyage club were fully documented, resulting in three LPs and a greatly expanded program that is included on Pepper's massive 'complete' Galaxy box set. This particular release, the only one thus far to be made available as a single CD, has Pepper and his quartet (with pianist George Cables, bassist David Williams and drummer Carl Burnett) performing 'Roadgame' (an alternate take has been added to the CD reissue), 'Road Waltz,' an intense 'Everything Happens to Me' and 'When You're Smiling'; on the latter, Pepper switches to clarinet. Although only a year away from his death, the great Art Pepper was still very much in his prime for this memorable outing. ~ AMG
Art announces the first tune, a blues in B flat, by saying 'This will be our last chance, so it's got to be the best one.' Recorded a year before his death, this 'live,' in-person session conveys what was unique about Pepper. He doesn't sound as cohesive or fluent as on his late 1950s work, but there's a strange 'emotional logic' to his solos that's suggestive of an artist in quest of the moment of truth. It seems as though he's working more with sound and emotions than melodic/harmonic invention, as each of his solos consists of fragmented motifs climaxing in a sudden, brief moment of sonic illumination.
A big bonus on the album is Art's clarinet solo on 'When You're Smiling.' Instead of the glib fluency associated with the renowned saints of the instrument--Goodman, Shaw, DeFranco--Art comes closer to the raw emotional quality of a Pee Wee Russell.
All in all, a memorable last set, well worth hanging around for. ~ Samuel Chell
Art Pepper, alto saxophone
George Cables, piano
David Williams, bass
Carl Burnett, drums
Art Pepper - Roadgame (1981) Tracks:
01 Spoken Introduction/Roadgame (Pepper) 9:54
02 Road Waltz (Pepper) 10:47
03 When You're Smiling /Fisher, Goodwin, Shay) 8:52
04 Everything Happens to Me (Adair, Dennis) 12:10
05 Roadgame [alternate take] (Pepper) 11:02