A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.
On a great copy such as this one, you can really pick out each of the musicians and follow them throughout the course of each song. When you’re able to appreciate everyone’s contributions, you can really get a better sense of how much work went into making this album. It’s nothing short of epic!
This is one DYNAMIC jazz record — drop the needle on any track and prepare yourself to be very impressed. The sound is full-bodied and energetic with tight bass, breathy brass, and lots of ambience.
This one has all the Tubey Magic of the best Black Label Contemporary originals, with none of the problems that make the average Black Label copy uninvolving.
I used to get those original Contemporary pressings in all the time, but few of them are mastered right and most never make it to the site. Some are pure muck. Some have bass so bloated it defies description. And where’s the presence? Over the years we’ve dropped the needle on more than a few Black Label original copies and were entirely underwhelmed every time.
Marty Paich, Brilliant Arranger
The amazing Marty Paich did the arrangements for this group of top musicians. As far as big band goes it doesn’t get much better than this. If I had to pick one big band album to take to my desert island it might very well be this one. The arrangements are lively and everyone seems to be having a good time in the studio.
Marty was one of the most sought-after arrangers back in the day. In discogs there are currently 512 listings under his name for writing and arranging.
Many consider this to be the best record Art Pepper ever made, along with Art Pepper Meets The Rhythm Section, and it’s hard to argue with either title as both are superb and deserve a place in any audiophile’s collection. I would add Art Pepper Today to that list, and fortunately we have a shootout coming up for it soon, our first ever, so watch for it.
Art Pepper — alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, clarinet
Pete Candoli — trumpet
Al Porcino — trumpet
Jack Sheldon — trumpet
Dick Nash — trombone
Bob Enevoldsen — valve trombone, tenor saxophone
Vince DeRosa — French horn
Herb Geller — alto saxophone
Bud Shank — alto saxophone
Charlie Kennedy — alto saxophone
Bill Perkins — tenor saxophone
Richie Kamuca — tenor saxophone
Med Flory — baritone saxophone
Russ Freeman — piano
Joe Mondragon — bass
Mel Lewis — drums
Marty Paich — arranger, conductor
Opus de Funk
AMG 5 Star Rave Review!
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. Throughout, Pepper sounds quite inspired by Paich’s charts which feature the band as an active part of the music rather than just in the background. Highlights of this highly enjoyable set include “Move,” “Four Brothers,” “Shaw Nuff,” “Anthropology,” and “Donna Lee,” but there is not a single throwaway track to be heard. Essential music for all serious jazz collections.