Art Pepper may not be a recognizable figure to the general public, but he is a bright shining star in the jazz world. Pepper, of San Pedro, California was a child prodigy who fell in love with the music of Lester Young. As a teen, he was featured in Lee Young's (Lester's brother) band and with the great Benny Carter. Segregation forbade his touring with them so he joined Stan Kenton's group and quickly became a featured soloist. Pepper shared Stan Getz's good looks and an ability to fit into any musical situation yet retain his own voice, and became an in-demand session player and a solo star. Heroin claimed Pepper for well over a decade and he spent a substantial part of his life in and out of jail and recovery homes. In the '70s he picked his career up and released a string of excellent albums showing a new, tougher style. His biting autobiography, "Straight Life," is closer to literature than the usual celebrity tell-all; it may be the most self-critical, least flattering autobiography ever written.
Art Pepper Concert Films
Notes from a Jazz Survivor
Runtime: 49 minAn intensely personal and sometimes painful look into the fascinating world of Art Pepper. One of Jazz' greatest alto saxophonists and most expressive soloists, Pepper was also a thief, drug addict, alcoholic, womanizer, and world renown wildman. In candid interviews he recounts his triumphs, troubles, and luck in meeting Laurie, his last wife. For half the film Pepper leads a trio in a Malibu nightclub, the set includes: "Red Car", "Patricia", and "Miss Who?".
Art Pepper Top Tracks
Live at Montreux 1996
Runtime: 56 minWayne Shorter is one of the most significant jazz performers of modern times. He performed as part of Art Blakeys Jazz Messengers and then Miles Davis band in the sixties before co-founding Weather Report with Joe Zawinul in the early seventies. This Montreux concert from 1996 features the Wayne Shorter Quintet and followed on from the release of his Grammy Award winning album High Life.
Epitaph: Live from Lincoln Center
Runtime: 2 hr 20 minOn June 3rd, 1989, the Alice Tully Hall at New York's Lincoln Center was the venue for the world premiere performance of Charles Mingus' masterpiece "Epitaph". Conductor Gunther Schuller directed 30 musicians in what the New York Times described as "One of the most memorable jazz events of the decade". The piece had been discovered after Mingus' death in 1979 and painstakingly restored and copied. It is the largest and longest piece for jazz orchestra ever written and is now available here on film for the first time.
Runtime: 1 hr 29 minIn 1982, the master showman Dizzy Gillespie performed at Lincoln Center with his celebrated Dream Band, which brought together master musicians who had played with Dizzy or been influenced by him. Driven by the stellar drums of Max Roach, the Dream Band is on fire and Dizzy is fine form. Including amazing turns from Gerry Mulligan, Gillespie protégé John Faddis, Milt Jackson, Paquito DiRiviera, Candido and more, this film shares some of the backstage love and respect the players had for Diz. The concert itself is filmed beautifully with many close ups of the players and their instruments, as well as catching the love and humor of Dizzy.
Runtime: 59 minThis film from Gary Keys focuses on the amazing saxophonist and arranger, Gerry Mulligan. His warm tone on the baritone and his delightful state persona are on full display, capturing a live show at Eric's in NYC in 1981. From his arrangements and playing on Miles Davis' Birth of the Cool to his quartet with Chet Baker, Mulligan will always be associated with Cool Jazz, but the music in this film touches on all aspects of Mulligan's 30 plus years of playing. Filmed with Keys' signature style of many close ups and no special effects, this snapshot features a master taking a look at his long and storied career with a crack band supporting his every move.
Alto Saxophone Jazz Solos
Runtime: 50 minOne of the most individual of all alto saxophone players, the cool-toned LEE KONITZ has always had a strong musical curiosity that has led him to consistently take chances and stretch himself, usually quite successfully. The Jazz Sessions spotlights unaccompanied performances by some of the legends and bright young stars of the jazz world. Designed and recorded specifically for television, SOLOS offers viewers front row seats for an intimate and unique jazz experience. Each program features complete musical pieces, insightful interviews, and behind-the-scenes footage. Shot in stunning HDTV with multiple moving cameras and a medley of elegant cinematic lighting, SOLOS showcases an exciting and dynamic variety of jazz styles - from the blues and boogie-woogie to bebop and the experimental.