Archive for the Art PEPPER Category

Art PEPPER – The Art Pepper Quartet 1956

Posted in Art PEPPER, JAZZ on December 3, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Art PEPPER – The Art Pepper Quartet 1956
(No Alternate Takes)


Originally released on the defunct Tampa label and then on CD by the small V.S.O.P. label, this album features the great altoist Art Pepper with pianist Russ Freeman, bassist Ben Tucker and drummer Gary Frommer. Despite the inclusion of five alternate takes, there is still only around 41 minutes of music but the quality is high; even with his erratic lifestyle, Pepper never made a bad record. Highlights include Art’s original “Diane,” “Besame Mucho” and “Pepper Pot.” Fine music, but not essential when one considers how many gems Art Pepper recorded during his rather hectic life.
By Scott Yanow. AMG.
“The Art Pepper Quartet,” originally recorded for the Tampa label and reissued on CD by OJC, is one of the alto-saxophonist’s best early albums. The session was recorded on November 25, 1956 and features Russ Freeman on piano, Ben Tucker on bass, and Gary Frommer on drums. “The Tampa Quartet,” as it is affectionately referred to by collectors, along with the three volumes of the Complete Aladdin Recordings on Blue Note (two of which are currently out-of-print), are without a doubt his best work from the early to mid-1950s, and should be preferred hands down to titles like “Surf Ride” (see my review). With that being said, this disc gets four stars for two reasons. Even with five alternate takes the CD logs in at less than 45 minutes, and there are just so many other classic Pepper CDs available from OJC, including “Smack Up,” “Intensity,” “Meets the Rhythm Section” and “Gettin’ Together” (see my review of the latter) that interested parties should start elsewhere and work their way to “Tampa.”
By  Michael B. Richman.
Art Pepper- (Alto Sax, Clarnet);
Russ Freeman- (Piano);
Ben Tucker- (Bass);
Gary Frommer- (Drums).

01. Art’s Opus 5:48
02. I Surrender, Dear Barris, 5:31
03. Diane Pepper 3:35
04. Pepper Pot Pepper 5:03
05. Besame Mucho Skylar, Velazquez 4:00
06. Blues at Twilight Pepper 3:58
07. Val’s Pal Pepper 2:03

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Art PEPPER – Art Pepper Meets The Rhythm Section 1957

Posted in Art PEPPER, JAZZ on November 27, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Art PEPPER – Art Pepper Meets The Rhythm Section 1957
1988 Issue.OJC-338-2


By the time of this, Art Pepper’s tenth recording as a leader, he was making his individual voice on the alto saxophone leave the cozy confines of his heroes Charlie Parker and Lee Konitz. Joining the Miles Davis rhythm section of pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Philly Joe Jones made the transformation all that more illuminating. It’s a classic east meets west, cool plus hot but never lukewarm combination that provides many bright moments for the quartet during this exceptional date from that great year in music, 1957. A bit of a flip, loosened but precise interpretation of the melody on “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To” gets the ball rolling, followed by a “Bags Groove” parallel with “Red Pepper Blues,” and a delicate, atypical treatment of “Imagination.” A compositional collaboration of Pepper and Chambers on the quick “Waltz Me Blues” and hard-edged, running-as-fast-as-he-can take of “Straight Life” really sets the gears whirring. Philly Joe Jones is a great bop drummer, no doubt, one of the all-time greats with Kenny Clarke and Max Roach. His crisp Latin-to-swing pace for “Tin Tin Deo” deserves notice, masterful in its creation and seamlessness. Pepper makes a typical “Star Eyes” brighter, and he goes into a lower octave tone, more like a tenor, for “Birks Works” and the bonus track “The Man I Love.” It’s clear he has heard his share of Stan Getz in this era. Though Art Pepper played with many a potent trio, this one inspires him to the maximum, and certainly makes for one of his most substantive recordings after his initial incarcerations, and before his second major slip into the deep abyss of drug addiction.
By Michael G. Nastos, All Music Guide.
The rhythm section in question here belonged to Miles Davis in Los Angeles, one fine day in January 1957. Pepper had made a name for himself in Stan Kenton’s band, but this was really the first time he found himself in the studio with a rhythm section such as Red Garland, Paul Chambers, and Philly Joe Jones. In his fascinating biography, Straight Life, Pepper tells the story of the date when, after not playing for six months, he was told of the session that morning. He pieced together a broken horn, went in, and blew. Not completely remembering the first tune “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To,” he voices a line that both invokes the melody and refashions it. The rest of the session shows just how high Pepper rose to the occasion. It’s one of the most important recordings of his career.
By Michael Monhart.
The sessions for what would become Art Pepper Meets The Rhythm Section took place on January 19, 1957. It was a period that saw saxophone great Art Pepper facing down some serious demons. He had just been released from federal prison on drug charges, and had not picked up his horn in ages. To top it all off, his girlfriend did not inform him of the scheduled date until that very morning. In Pepper’s autobiography Straight Life he claims to have prepared for the recording “by shooting a huge amount of heroin.” The resulting album should have been an unmitigated disaster. Instead, Pepper emerged that evening with one of the finest albums of his career.
Having one of the strongest rhythm sections in jazz behind him certainly did not hurt. Red Garland (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), and Philly Joe Jones (drums) were moonlighting from their regular gig with Miles Davis. To call them The Rhythm Section was no idle boast; they were probably the best in the business at the time. There were dichotomies between Art and the trio that should have worked against them. He was white; they were black. He was West Coast; they were East Coast. But what emerges on this album is four incredibly talented musicians playing together at the top of their game.
Pepper had never even played the opening cut, “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To,” before. He knew the Cole Porter song, and after a quick run through, they rolled tape. The tasteful lyrical lines he states through the body of the tune make it his own. Next up is a Red Garland composition, “Red Pepper Blues.” On this one, the whole band swing together, each taking flight in turn.
Art Pepper had a number of different voices on his instrument, and in the ballad, “Imagination,” he fully explores the depth of sound his alto sax has to offer. It also features an inspired bass solo from Chambers. The song that became something of a theme for Pepper, “Straight Life,” is presented here for the first time. This is a wild tune, with the saxist blowing furiously in a post-Bop style that was completely anathema to West Coast cool jazz. The Rhythm Section responds in a big way, with each player rotating solos throughout the track.
Another side of Pepper that emerges is his love of Dixieland. The quartet attack the old standby, “Jazz Me Blues,” with notable passion. Over the course of the seven minute “Tin Tin Deo,” the foursome seem to metamorphose. This extended track gives the impression that they had all been playing together for years. The interaction between the various soloists is remarkable.
Art Pepper Meets The Rhythm Section is part of the Original Jazz Classics 24-bit remaster program, and sounds spectacular. In addition to the LP’s original nine cuts, there is a bonus track. “The Man I Love” was recorded at the same sessions as the rest, but was left off the album. It must have been for time constraints, because the side itself is a killer. The solos are on a par with those of anything else here.
Art Pepper Meets The Rhythm Section is a classic jazz album, one of those rare collaborations where the sum really is greater than the parts.
By Greg Barbrick.
According to legend, the album was recorded under enormous pressure: Pepper first learnt of it on the morning of the recording session, had never met the other musicians (though he admired them all), hadn’t played for two weeks (according to the liner notes) or six months (according to Pepper’s autobiography Straight Life), was playing on an instrument in a bad state of repair, and was suffering from a drug problem. (This story is clearly unreliable: the discography in Straight Life reveals, for instance, that he had recorded many sessions in the previous weeks, including one just five days before.) Whatever the truth of the recording’s circumstances, it is considered a milestone in Pepper’s career, and launched a series of albums for Les Koenig’s Contemporary label which remain the cornerstone of Pepper’s recorded work.
Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section is a 1957 jazz album by saxophonist Art Pepper playing with Red Garland, Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones, who at the time were the rhythm section for Miles Davis’s quintet.
Bass- Paul Chambers
Drums- Philly Joe Jones
Piano- Red Garland
Alto Saxophone- Art Pepper
01. You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To  5:30
02. Red Pepper Blues  3:39
03. Imagination  5:56
04. Waltz Me Blues  2:28
05. Straight Life  4:02
06. Jazz Me Blues  4:50
07. Tin Tin Deo  7:42
08. Star Eyes  5:12
09. Birk’s Works  4:15

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