Sunday, November 28, 2010

Check Please

Call it a privileged moment; a brief segment of time that, in this gorgeous case, stands outside the official body of the song. For a musical minute and a half that acquires the weight and beauty of a full concerto, Art Pepper delays his entry to Legrandland to spin his own story. Not exactly an introduction, this brief but sumptuous improvised fragment is typical of the concentrated power that Pepper regularly summoned in the last decade of his out of control merry-go-round of an existence. If "The Summer Knows" ended right there, I'd walk away fully satiated. But then I'd miss the dessert.
Mainly a feature for bassist Williams, this performance still reveals much of the legendary Pepper magic. Legrand's wispy melody doesn't seem to engage him nearly as much as his own filigrees and bookending statements. Starting at 5:54, the saxophonist digs in again, pulling extemporized morsels of melody from the air, giving himself the well deserved last word.

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