Art Pepper: So in Love Produced by John Snyder and Laurie Pepper Analogue productions revival series. APR 3013.
“So in Love by Art Pepper”: another release on the Analogue Productions Revival Series; another classy pressing. They seem to have it all to a fine art at Analogue Productions. The lacquer expertly cut by master engineer Stan Ricker and processed almost immediately afterwards so avoiding any reduction in quality. Then the test pressings inspected before the limited edition records are produced.
The process is far more detailed than that but I’ll come clean and admit that any more detail than that, and I don’t understand it. But simple soul that I am, I do understand when I hear good jazz. And I hear it here.
Rather like Shaun Ryder, the singer formerly of the Happy Mondays, now fronting Black Grape, Art Pepper, is almost as well known for his substance abuse as he is of his musical output. So you all nut mutter, did he really live that long? when you realise that So in Love was recorded in February 1979. In fact he died three years later, at the comparatively young age of 57. Still, that’s the risk you take when you attempt to turn smack consumption into an Olympic sport.
50’s jazz colliding with 60’s avant-garde
Pepper though, sounds well enough on So in Love, indeed he sounds in the rudest of health, as he runs through three standards and two of his own compositions. The album itself is split between two bands, both of whom employ the alto, piano, drum and bass set-up. Not that, to paraphrase Eric Morecombe, you can see the join. The lack of any seams is due in the most part, to the musicians who are all seasoned experts, who share the similar experience of 50’s jazz colliding with 60’s avant-garde. Absorbing the challenges of the free jazz created, the musicians have the ability to either load the notes heavy on a tune or just let a few sing for you. Pepper utilises them well – but then lets face it, if you have the musicians of the Falkner of Ron Carter it Charles Haden as a bassist (playing on two and three tracks respectively) you shouldn’t have too many problems in that department.
Personal favourites of the set include a wonderful relaxed interpretation of the Thelonius Monk classic Strait No Chaser and an extended jam on the closing track, Hoagy Carmichael’s Stardust.
you feel as if you are part of the band rather than as a spectator
This recording has a real upfront quality about it which really engages the listener and you feel as if you are part of the band rather than as a spectator. This is true at both ends of the volume spectrum. You feel the jazz band playing and you feel – an hear – the enjoyment they’re obviously having. The type of enjoyment master musicians have, and give to others, when they interacting together to produce fine music.