One of the greatest West Coast jazz LPs of all time! Art Pepper plays beautiful spiralling alto lines with a tight quartet that includes Russ Freeman on piano, Chuck Flores on drums, and Ben Tucker on bass. The whole thing swings in a way that's tough to find on some of Pepper's other albums from the time, and the track list includes "Dianne's Dilemma", "Blues In", "Blues Out", and "Cool Bunny".
This is a true classic. Altoist Art Pepper is joined by an 11-piece band playing Marty Paich arrangements of a dozen jazz standards from the bop and cool jazz era. Trumpeter Jack Sheldon has a few solos, but the focus is very much on the altoist who is in peak form for this period…
By most standards a "little" big-band album, this set carried the bebop canon, such as it was, into the realm of California cool jazz, using Art Pepper's chops on milky tenor and sharp alto saxophones alongside plush arrangements from Marty Paich. There were key links on this session to the Miles Davis nonet's Birth of the Cool a decade earlier, which opened with the same Denzil Best tune. ~ Amazon
The third of three volumes chronicling Pepper's complete Aladdin recordings, Blue Note's Art of Pepper, Vol. 3 finds the West Coast alto saxophonist in top form over the course of 12 stunning cuts. Recorded in 1957, the set takes in both Pepper originals ("Holiday Flight," "Surf Ride") and choice standards ("Long Ago and Faraway," "Without a Song"). There's also a fine cover of the rare Bud Powell cut "Webb City." Topped off with excellent work by pianist Carl Perkins, bassist Ben Tucker, and drummer Chuck Flores, this collection is a must-have for all Pepper fans.
Blue Note's The Return of Art Pepper: The Complete Art Pepper Aladdin Recordings compiles the 13 final masters that the alto saxophonist recorded for Aladdin between August 1956 and January 1957. These are titled The Return of Art Pepper, since they were recorded shortly after he completed a jail sentence in 1956. As a result, Pepper's chops are a little rusty, but you can hear that he still has a passion for playing, and he does improve over the course of these tracks. For serious Pepper fans, it's worth a listen, but for less dedicated fans, there are better places to become acquainted with his work.
The best modern jazz classics are revisited in the Original Jazz Classics Remasters series. Each title in the series features 24-bit remastering, original AND new liner notes, fully restored artwork, and bonus tracks (when available).
Wes Montgomery began his incredible series of recordings for Riverside in the organ trio context that he employed on gigs in his native Indianapolis. After a series of acclaimed albums featuring pianists, Montgomery ended his Riverside run by reuniting with Hammond B-3 master Melvin Rhyne on several sessions. The first, Boss Guitar, featured Jimmy Cobb on drums, and the Miles Davis veteran (and future Montgomery working partner) inspired the guitarist and organist to their greatest recorded work together.
This 3-cd Art Pepper box (Mosaic Select #15) is about as hip as it gets, essential if you're into Pepper or mid-'50's West Coast jazz in general.
Mosaic is Michael Cuscuna's jazz collector label, well-known for limited edition collections re-mastered from original master tapes. If you're not familiar with the label, be assured that this is a professionally produced set of the highest quality. Be aware, too, that these sets do go out of print, so if this one looks like something you'll like, now's the time to pick it up. ~ Amazon