Except for brief featured solos on a Buddy Rich big band date, this 1975 album was Art Pepper's first recording since 1960. Most of that 15-year absence from the studios was spent in prison or rehabilitation centers. When Pepper emerged from his ordeal free of the narcotics addiction that had hobbled his brilliant career, his playing had greater power and depth than ever. Teamed with a rhythm section ideally constituted to fuel his imagination and intensity, Pepper's playing contains what critic Doug Ramsey described as "an emotional concentration, a cry–sometimes a sob and sometimes a joyous shout–that comes from the wisdom of experience." Living Legend was Pepper's stentorian announcement that he was back.