At the age of 17 he began playing professionally, with Benny Carter and then became part of the Stan Kenton orchestra, touring with that band, until he was drafted in 1943. After the war he returned to Los Angeles and joined the Kenton Innovations Orchestra. By the 1950's Pepper was recognized as one of the leading alto saxophonists in jazz, epitomized by his finishing second only to Charlie Parker as Best Alto Saxophonist in the Down Beat magazine Readers Poll of 1952. Along with Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan and Shelly Manne, and perhaps due more to geography than playing style, Pepper is often associated with the musical movement known as West Coast jazz, as contrasted with the East Coast (or "hot") jazz of Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis. Some of Pepper's most famous albums from the 1950's are Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section, Art Pepper + Eleven - Modern Jazz Classics, Gettin' Together, and Smack Up. Representative music from this time appears on The Aladdin Recordings (three volumes), The Early Show, The Late Show, The Complete Surf Ride, and The Way It Was!, which features a session recorded with Warne Marsh.
His career was repeatedly interrupted by several prison stints stemming from his addiction to heroin, but Pepper managed to have several memorable and productive "comebacks." Remarkably, his substance abuse and legal travails did not affect the quality of his recordings, which maintained a high level of musicianship throughout his career until his death from a brain hemorrhage in 1982.
His last comeback saw Pepper, who had started his career in Stan Kenton's big band, becoming a member of Buddy Rich's Big Band from 1968 to 1969. During the mid-1970s and early 1980s he toured Europe and Japan with his own groups and recorded dozens of albums, most for Fantasy Records.
acrylic on canvas
36" x 48"
Shipping cost: $150.00
I call my art "Composing with Color". Everyone hears music differently. The way we perceive art is shaped by our taste and by emotions, situations and personalities. My canvas is the manuscript on which the notes are painted. I have attempted to have music take on physical colors as it travels through air. My ideal vision would be to create a world in colors as Thelonious Monk created a world of sound.
I am a graduate of The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, PA. I have had solo exhibitions in New Orleans, Los Angeles, Miami and Frankfurt, Germany. I have received a grant from the prestigious Pollock-Krasner Foundation and the Artist Fellowship Inc, New York, NY.
George McClements is a New Orleans artist living and working in the Bywater neighborhood.
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