Intensity (Remastered) Art Pepper
- 1I Can't Believe That You're in Love with Me04:22
- 2I Love You05:25
- 3Come Rain or Come Shine04:46
- 4Long Ago (And Far Away)04:22
- 5Gone With the Wind05:50
- 6I Wished On the Moon04:55
- 7Too Close for Comfort06:44
- 8Five Points11:34
Info for Intensity (Remastered)
"Intensity" is a 1960 jazz album by saxophonist Art Pepper playing with Dolo Coker, Jimmy Bond and Frank Butler. The album was released in 1963.
The sleeve notes (by Lester Koenig) quote Richard Hadlock, jazz editor of the San Francisco Examiner, who writes: "As this and his last Contemporary release Smack Up!, demonstrate, Art was well on his way toward a new kind of playing freedom in 1960. He had, partly through the examples of John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman, begun to set aside his few remaining inhibitions and reach out for still more direct contact with his emotions... A musician friend told me recently that sometimes Pepper's playing 'sounds like a man crying — it just tears you up.' I agree."
"Intensity was the final album of altoist Art Pepper's early period and was released when he was already serving a long prison sentence due to his addiction to heroin. Assisted by pianist Dolo Coker, bassist Jimmy Bond, and drummer Frank Butler, Pepper was just starting to show the influence of John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman in his style, freeing up his playing and displaying a greater intensity during his improvisations. Ironically, Pepper sticks to swinging standards such as "I Can't Believe That You're in Love with Me," "Gone with the Wind," and "I Wished on the Moon" as points of departure on this interesting and largely enjoyable set. Excluding a 1973 recording with Mike Vax's big band, it would be 15 years before Art Pepper led another record date in the studios." (Scott Yanow, AMG)
Art Pepper, alto saxophone
Dolo Coker, piano
Jimmy Bond, bass
Frank Butler, drums
Recorded November 23 & 25, 1960 at Contemporary Records in Los Angeles
Produced by Lester Koenig
born in Gardena, California on September 1, 1925 and raised in nearby San Pedro, began playing clarinet at age 9 and, by 15, was performing in Lee Young’s band at the Club Alabam on Central Avenue, the home of jazz in prewar Los Angeles.
He joined Stan Kenton’s band, touring the U.S. and gaining fame, but was drafted in 1943 serving as an MP in London and performing with some British jazz bands. He returned to the States and to Kenton, touring and recording. In 1952 he placed second only to Charlie Parker in the Down Beat jazz poll. Probably his most famous recording from that period is his stunning performance of “Art Pepper,” written by Shorty Rogers (as part of a series of charts Kenton had commissioned to feature members of his band).
Art left Stan Kenton in 1951 to form his own group, occasionally recording for Rogers and others. He signed with Contemporary Records in 1957.
From the beginning Art’s playing combined a tender delicacy of tone with a purity of narrative line—a gift for storytelling that was made irresistible by an inherent, dancing, shouting, moaning inability to ever stop swinging.
He was one of the few alto players to resist the style and tone of Charlie Parker. What he failed to resist was the lure of drugs, ubiquitous, at that time, among jazz musicians. And although some users managed to get through and over their addictions, Art, survivor of a rocky childhood (alcoholic neglectful mother, alcoholic violent father), unbalanced from the get-go, never did quite triumph over his, though he may have fought them to a draw.
So, in 1952, he began a long series of hospitalizations and incarcerations for violations of the drug laws of his time—possession, internal possession (“marks”), and then for violations of his previous releases (more possessions and internal possessions). In time, he became a petty thief, a real thief, a robber (though not an armed robber; his fellow criminals thought he was too crazy to be trusted with a gun). He served time for the Feds (Terminal Island) and for the State of California (San Quentin). He prided himself on being “a stand-up guy,” a good criminal.
All this history makes a pretty gripping story as it’s told by Art with his wife Laurie Pepper in their book, Straight Life (DaCapo). What’s surprising is that the music he managed to make during irregular bursts of freedom was enthralling, too. The gift was starved for the spotlight, for opportunities for performing and recording, but it flowered in the dark, became deeper and more soulful. The performances—from The Art Pepper Quartet (1952) and Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section (with Miles Davis’s rhythm section) on Contemporary (1957) all the way through the recordings he made at the Village Vanguard (Contemporary, 1977) and his later recording with strings (Winter Moon, Galaxy, 1981)—are brilliant, poignant, and a joy to hear. The rigor and abandon with which he lived his life were present in every note he played.
Art Pepper died June 15, 1982 of a cerebral hemorrhage. But the 1979 publication of Straight Life and accompanying press had revived Art’s career. With Laurie’s help, he spent the last years of his life trying to make up for lost time, making each performance a life-or-death occasion, touring worldwide with his own bands, recording over a hundred albums, writing songs, winning polls, respect, and adulation.
Most of his albums are still available for sale. Laurie Pepper is releasing the best of what remains unreleased and is working on a movie based on the book, Straight Life. •
This album contains no booklet.