An expanded version of SV-115 Art Pepper - Surf Ride. The first date finds the alto saxophonist in fine form, leading a quartet consisting of pianist Hampton Hawes, bassist Joe Mondragon, and drummer Larry Bunker. Pepper primarily sticks to originals, though he offers a warm rendition of the standard "These Foolish Things" as well. Pepper sounds a little more adventurous on the second date, accompanied by pianist Russ Freeman, bassist Bob Whitlock, and drummer Bobby White. Two takes of "Chili Pepper" (a Latin-flavored reworking of the venerable "Tea for Two"), two versions of the rapid-fire "Suzy the Poodle" (based upon "[Back Home Again In] Indiana"), a lush arrangement of the ballad "Everything Happens to Me," and a swinging performance of Lester Young's "Tickle Toe" (which incorporates cornetist Bix Beiderbecke's tag from the recording of Paul Whiteman's "When") make up this session.
I’ve long overlooked Pepper’s later work, there is so much good stuff in his prime, but when I stumbled on this lovely three box set recorded in 1977, and with one of my recent favourite bassists, George Mraz, and Mr Elvin Jones on drums, a second opinion was long overdue. Recorded over three nights before a relaxed appreciative audience (no jackass stomping hooting or whistling, – apologies to those who welcome the more demonstrative audience ) this live set automatically has you turning the lights down low and joining the audience, a decanter positioned strategically within arms reach.
Altoist Art Pepper, in the midst of a successful comeback, recorded this excellent set (also included in full in his massive Galaxy box set) for Galaxy. With pianist Stanley Cowell, bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Roy Haynes, Pepper performs a definitive version of his intense ballad "Patricia"; other highlights include "Miss Who," "Lover Come Back to Me" and "Chris' Blues." The CD reissue also has a second alternate version of "These Foolish Things".