Art Pepper – Straight Life

More Art Pepper

More Jazz Recordings featuring the Saxophone

This Jazz Classic boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound, or close to it, from first note to last. The two long ballads, “September Song” at over ten minutes, and “Nature Boy” at just under ten, give Art and the boys a chance to stretch out and take it to another level.

Art Pepper’s saxophone sound is just right — present, breathy and airy with clear leading edge transients. The lineup on this LP is truly stellar, especially for 1979, with the legendary Tommy Flanagan on piano, Billy Higgins on drums, and the great Red Mitchell on bass.

What both sides of this pressing have to offer is not hard to hear:

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1979
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments of this stellar jazz group having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we describe above, and for that, you will need to take this copy of the record home and throw it on your table.

There are a lot of stinkers in the Art Pepper catalog from this era. Acoustic Sounds released a few of them on 180 gram as a matter of fact. What a waste of good viny


Side One

Surf Ride 
Nature Boy 
Straight Life

Side Two

September Song 
Make A List

AMG  5 Star Review

Altoist Art Pepper recorded many albums for the Galaxy label during 1979-1982. Straight Life is pretty definitive and serves as a perfect introduction to Pepper’s second (and most rewarding) period. Not only is there a superior version of Pepper’s famous title cut but very emotional (and explorative) renditions of “September Song” and “Nature Boy.” The quartet also featured pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Red Mitchell, and drummer Billy Higgins.

Brilliant music.