Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Conjuration: Fat Tuesday's Session
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Douglas T Martin | Alpharetta, GA USA | 08/04/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This 1983 live set, recorded at Fat Tuesday's in New York City finds Pepper Adams leading a quintet with Kenny Wheeler on brass, Hank Jones on piano, Clint Houston on bass, and Louis Hayes on drums. Now that he's recorded with Hank Jones, Adams has gone on record as a leader/co-leader with all three of the Jones brothers - the other two being Thad Jones ("Mean What You Say"), and Elvin Jones ("Encounter").
It's interesting to hear Kenny Wheeler with this group - he's rarely heard (or at least recorded) in a bop context. Most of his sideman gigs put him in a free jazz or avant-garde setting (who else has played on recordings led by such disparate drummers as Tony Oxley and Philly Joe Jones?). His flugelhorn mixes well with Adams' baritone sax - the lower pitched brass instrument has less "bite" than the trumpet and does a great job of smoothing over the baritone sax's raspiness.
"Diabolique II" opens with a flurry of descending pentatonics (I think), before turning into a race-for-the-finish bop tune. Hank Jones plays a great solo on this one, tasteful and not at all ostentatious. The unison lines that Adams and Wheeler play are a little ragged, but given the live setting and furious tempo it's understandable - and no less enjoyable. Adams waltz, "Claudette's Way", finds Adams in a rambunctious mood during his solo, playing a little more harsh than one would expect with a waltz. As if in contrast, Wheeler's horn is more mellow, soothing what was stirred up during the baritone solo.
"Dr. Deep", another Adams waltz - features some aggressive playing by Adams, again smoothed over by Wheeler in his solo. Thad Jones' composition "Quittin' Time" is a midtempo blues-based number with some nice honkin' by Adams and some fine Hank Jones pianer work. Louis Hayes busts some Elvin-type moves in "Dobbin", all the while keeping the song swinging. In fact, bassist Clint Houston and drummer Louis Hayes (who has recorded with almost everyone in jazz), are always doing something interesting. Had this been a studio recording, they might have been content just to support the front line, but in this live setting they're in there scrapping with the rest of them.
The set closes with a charging version of Thad Jones "Tis", giving everyone a chance to get in one last jaw-dropping solo before calling it a night. The name of this recording is "Conjuration", a word having to do with magic. Fitting, because the music that this quintet produces in this set is exactly that - magic."
Cutting deep into the meat
Evan Chandlee | Paris, France | 05/19/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When he first emerged on the Detroit jazz scene, Pepper Adams was awarded the nickname "The Knife", for his trenchant intensity. An adjective listeners have applied to other recordings of his, "amazing", certainly applies here. On the livelier tunes his playing is ferocious. On the more laid-back tunes like Alone Together he's cooler, but subject to unexpected short-lived eruptions out of the appropriately relaxed mood. In fact Adams' seemingly inexhaustible energy and sforzando attacks are used to constantly vary the intensity. This is high-energy modern jazz but the solos as well as the tunes are nuanced. Other than the intensity and virtuosity, this recording is also distinguished - from Adams' other quintet discs - by the presence of Kenny Wheeler, whose choice of notes is very adventurous, but these dissonances never jar, complementing Pepper's gutteral melodics. An added treat is the poetic Hank Jones and his crystalline solos - another player with rich dynamics, as well as being one of the great accompanists. Clint Houston and Louis Hayes on bass and drums also emphasise beauty with the muscle. Hayes' breaks are delightful, with that extra punch and looseness that drummers project only on live recordings. A fiery melodic groove permeates this session that transcends the hard-bop genre. A great baritone saxophone player, leader and composer."