Belated release of some classic music
N. Dorward | Toronto, ON Canada | 08/06/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Hard to believe these sides sat in a can till 1972. The main feature is Side A of the original LP: a November 1956 session with Warne Marsh (thus predating Pepper's first Contemporary release, the classic _...Meets the Rhythm Section_, which was recorded in Jan. 1957), with Ronnie Ball on piano, Ben Tucker on bass & Gary Frommer on drums. It's tremendous stuff (augmented on CD issue with a few alternate takes)--they tackle "Tickle Toe", "All the Things You Are", "What's New", & "I Can't Believe That You're in Love With Me" (the last two being particular favourites of Pepper's: there are plenty of recorded versions to compare in his canon). It's a real pity Marsh & Pepper only recorded together on one other occasion (a Vanguard disc with Ted Brown also on board): the partnership here is as heady & fine-drawn as any Marsh/Konitz pairing in the 1950s. The rest of the disc is outtakes from other Contemporary dates, but there's no particular reason why they were left off the original discs (except time restrictions, I guess): certainly the uptempo "The Man I Love" from the _...Meets the Rhythm Section_ session is as fine as any of the originally released tracks, & there are also good things here left over from _Intensity_ & _Gettin' Together_.
I still don't fathom why, in this boxed-set-obsessed market, there's not a proper set of all Pepper's Contemporary sides--surely there's more in the can than has yet seen light? In any case, this disc shows how much fine music got left out the first time round. Liner notes are by Pepper himself "told to Laurie Miller", & thus a dry run of sorts for the oral-history approach of his autobiography _Straight Life_."
Philip | Sydney, Australia | 08/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Art Pepper is in top form in this set of standards which make up this splended record. I now own a number of his records and this one confirms that Art is definitely without a doubt in my mind the finest Altoist I have heard. He had this amazing capacity to be consistent at a very high level of playing in many recordings.
The ballad "What's New" is the exceptional song on this record which demonstrates his mastery over the Alto Sax. Other highlights are "All the Things you Are, The Man I Love, Autumn Leaves and The Way you Look Tonight". The various supporting players on different tracks also do a fine job."
Tight Arrangements - Accessible Jazz
Mark S. Deneen | Ferndale, Ca | 02/13/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Jazz is not my main music interest, so I am a jazz newbie, or lightweight. I think Art Pepper is very accessible compared to many jazz artists of that era. This is music that moves, swings, and is melodic. The arrangements are tight, and there are no long-winded boring solos to wade through while the "cats" have their blow for 5 or 10 minutes at a time. This is tight ensemble style playing and it is fun.
I have a lot of Art Pepper for these reasons. I think he is often considered not as "heavy" or "relevant" as other horn players, but then again it is easy to listen too. You don't need to know the entire history of jazz or all the "inside baseball" to love this music.
The "sound quality" on the CD is very good. There is the oddity that the horns are hard left and the rhythm is hard right because these were remastered from MONO into a pseudo stereo. Don't let that turn you off - these sessions are clean and alive sounding."