Five tremendous albums from saxophone genius Art Pepper – presented here with a lot of bonus tracks too! First up
is So In Love – beautiful late work from Art Pepper – one of his albums recorded for the well-done Artist House label, and a set that's maybe got a different vibe than some of his Galaxy recordings of the time! There's a rock-solid sense of soul to the record – one that comes from the work of two different rhythm trios – one that features George Cables on piano, Charlie Haden on bass, and Billy Higgins on drums – a rhythm trio who keep things swinging, but never in a way that's too straight – pushing Art a bit around the edges, but letting him come right down the middle with some fantastic solos on alto – the other with Hank Jones on piano, Ron Carter on bass, and Al Foster on drums. Tunes are a bit shorter than on some other albums of the period, but in a great way that really lets you focus in on Pepper's amazing sound –and titles include "Diane", "Stardust", "Blues For Blanche", and "Straight No Chaser". Artworks is a nicely focused set from the great Art Pepper – a record that features a number of familiar bop and jazz themes, but set to a more open, relaxed, and very soulful style that wonderfully reflects all the greatness of Pepper in his final years! The group on the record is nicely understated, but still very hip – George Cables on piano, Charlie Haden on bass, and Billy Higgins on drums – and Art gets plenty of space to step out front and really blow
these amazing solos, including one number that features just bass and drums, while Pepper blow
s a bit of clarinet – which we always love. All other titles feature alto sax – and titles include "Donna Lee", "Anthropology", "You Go To My Head", "Body & Soul", and "Desafinado". Next is a New York Album, but one that was oddly recorded in Burbank – and which has Art Pepper sounding very much at the top of his game! The format here is a bit like the other Artist House Pepper sessions, and those he did for the Japanese Atlas label – tight, focused, often tunes that are older jazz or bop standards – but swing with a great rhythm section, and topped with completely sublime alto solos from the leader! The quartet features Hank Jones on piano, Ron Carter on bass, and Al Foster on drums – but one number is a duo between Carter and Pepper, and another features just piano and alto. Titles include "Night In Tunisia", "Lover Man", "Duo Blues", "My Friend John", and "Straight No Chaser". Stardust is a great little record from Art Pepper – four long tracks that really have him stretching out on alto – but in a way that's maybe a bit different than some of his more burning albums on the Galaxy label at the time! The group here follows from some of the previous Artist House recordings – George Cables on piano, Charlie Haden on bass, and Billy Higgins on drums – a rhythm combo that's mighty nice – and which benefits from some great straight basswork from Haden, and Higgins' always compelling sense of rhythm! Titles include "My Friend John", "Stardust", and "Tin Tin Deo" – plus a reading of "In A Mellotone" that has Art on clarinet. CD5 features a full disc of Sessions material, titled as such – alternates, and unusual versions from the recording dates – and all other of the four CDs feature bonus material as well – different takes and alternates!