‘Neon Art’ continues to shine light on Art Pepper’s jazz wizardry

Art Pepper‘Neon Art: Volume Two’
Art Pepper (Omnivore)
4 stars out of 5

Second in popularity and acclaim to only Charlie “Bird” Parker, jazz saxophonist Art Pepper was a pioneering figure in the bop and coo jazz movements. He rose to prominence in the 1950s but remained a mesmerizing and intense performer until his death in 1982 at age 56.

Art Pepper CDIn 2012, Omnivore issued a series of unreleased music from Pepper on colored vinyl. For the first time, those recordings are available on CD as in the three-volume “Neon Art.” Released in conjunction with his widow Laurie Pepper, this series is a must for jazz fans.

“Art hated the idea that people put jazz in a pigeonhole,” Laurie explains. “He wanted to make people forget the categories and ‘make them open up and listen.’ The release of these three albums of previously unissued Art Pepper recordings, now available in all configurations, will allow anyone the ability to ‘open up and listen.’”

“Volume Two” is comprised of just three tracks —“Mambo Koyama,” “Over the Rainbow” and “Allen’s Alley” —but the 42-minute platter. The songs were drawn from unissued performances during Pepper’s 1981 tour of Japan and feature a backing band of George Cables (piano), David Williams (bass) and Carl Burnett (drums). A must for jazz fans. (Jeffrey Sisk)

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