Art Pepper: Age 56 | Cause Of Death: POOR MAINTENANCE

(Born: 9/1/1925 in Gardena, CA ;Died: 6/1/1982 in Panorama City, CA)

Pepper was undeniably a West Coast jazzman. As a native of Gardena, California, he had more claim to the label than many Eastern and Midwest players who came to the Los Angeles area and played in the less overtly emotional manner that came to define the style. His solo approach was always passionate, from early recordings made with Stan Kenton’s orchestra during his years with the band (1943 and 1946-52) and in jam sessions on L.A.’s Central Avenue. Records and club work with Shorty Rogers and his Giants beginning in 1951 provided more room for his solo skills, and by 1952 he began cutting more intimate and open quartet and quintet sessions under his own name. By this time he had already developed a dependence on alcohol, pills, and heroin that led to an erratic lifestyle and (in 1952) the first of several arrests and incarcerations. For the remainder of the decade, Pepper alternated stretches in what he would later refer to as “la pinta” (the joint) with bursts of recording activity.           more: