Art Pepper – Besame Mucho “Live in Tokyo ’79” {JVC}[xrcd]

Review by Thom Jurek (

Shortly after Art Pepper’s death in 1982, JVC Records in Japan began issuing a series of titles of the great saxophonist’s performances in Japan. This set, recorded in 1979, was compiled from two different July performances and features the classic Pepper quartet with pianist George Cables, drummer Billy Higgins, and the great Tony Dumas on bass. Pepper played only alto on the dates, and these five tunes offer a portrait of the musician at the very top of his form and very inspired. There are three Pepper originals: “Red Car,” “Mambo de la Pinta,” and “The Trip,” all of which are over nine minutes, buffeted by the set’s lone ballad, “The Shadow of Your Smile,” and a smoking read of the title track. Only the ballad is on the short side, and the rest give Pepper the opportunity to really stretch himself and interact with Cables, whose fluid scalar approach to soloing, while invoking bop’s precision balanced by an abundant lyrical swing, was a perfect vehicle for the saxophonist’s intense melodic improvising. This is a welcome addition to the U.S. catalog for fans and a fantastic introduction to Pepper’s many gifts for the uninitiated.

01 – Red Car
02 – The Shadow of Your Smile
03 – The Trip
04 – Mambo de La Pinta
05 – Besame Mucho

Art Pepper – alto sax
George Cables – piano
Tony Dumas – bass
Billy Higgins – drums

Recorded in performance at Shiba Yubin Chokin Hall, Tokyo; July 16 and 23, 1979.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

One response to “Art Pepper – Besame Mucho “Live in Tokyo ’79” {JVC}[xrcd]

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