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Published: 2018/01/12
by Ron Hart

Art Pepper
West Coast Sessions! Vol. 1-6

In the wake of his ’77 comeback, alto sax legend Art Pepper cut some albums on a small label out of Japan called Yupiteru (later Atlas), mainly because he was still under an exclusive contract with Fantasy Records here in America, preventing him from recording as a leader. So to skirt around the dilemma, Pepper would direct from behind, choosing such fellow jazz luminaires as fellow saxophonists Lee Konitz and Sonny Stitt, trombonist Bill Watrous, pianist Pete Jolly, trumpet great Jack Sheldon and drummer Shelly Mann to headline this series of six albums of classic West Coast style bop he recorded for Yupiteru/Atlas between 1979 and 1982. This collection, released throughout 2017 in three different pairings, was lovingly put together by Pepper’s widow Laurie and serves as a stellar and revelatory testament to the last five years in the life of this unsung icon of California jazz.

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