40 Blues

Jimmy Witherspoon and Art Pepper


A rare meeting between blues singer Witherspoon and altoist Pepper

The careers of blues/jazz singer Jimmy Witherspoon and alto-saxophonist Art Pepper rarely overlapped despite being active during the same time period.

For a televised show about the blues in jazz, Witherspoon and Pepper met up in 1981 at the famous Lighthouse Café, performing the “40 Blues” while joined by organist Roy Alexander, guitarist Terry Evans, and drummer Maurice Simon Jr.

Witherspoon was at the peak of his powers at the time while Pepper had made a very successful comeback in the 1970s after years off the scene.

The two giants found common ground on the blues during this one-time collaboration.

-Scott Yanow

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