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Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section

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Album Review

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. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Customer Reviews

A Jazz Classic!!

It's great to finally see this on iTunes. Art Pepper was a very good alto sax player who went into this session without even knowing the circumstances, and he plays brilliantly. This is a must-have for serious jazzers. Buy it now! Peace.


The story goes that Art hadn't played in weeks. He hadn't touched his horn because he was strung out. His promoter didn't tell him where they were going, that a session was set up for him to record. They got to the studio and there was Miles' rhythm section, all ready to play. Art's mouthpiece was stuck to the horn and he busted the cork taking it off. They put tape around it. Red Garland asked, "What should we play Art?" He replied, "how about 'You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To'." The band counted it off, and the rest is history. To hear those notes and realize they were his first played for weeks, is stunning. Art was a master. A tragic master.


This is a very nice session, highlighted by You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To and Star Eyes. Art Pepper was really at the top of his game on this set. This is well worth your time. I never get tired of listening to the two tracks I mentioned.


Born: September 1, 1925 in Gardena, CA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Despite a remarkably colorful and difficult life, Art Pepper was quite consistent in the recording studios; virtually every recording he made is well worth getting. In the 1950s he was one of the few altoists (along with Lee Konitz and Paul Desmond) that was able to develop his own sound despite the dominant influence of Charlie Parker. During his last years, Pepper seemed to put all of his life's experiences into his music and he played with startling emotional intensity. After a brief stint with...
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Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section, Art Pepper
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