Art Pepper + Eleven – Modern Jazz Classics

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  • A big, bold, lively stereo copy of this exceptional Art Pepper release from 1960 – Triple Plus (A+++) on side one and Double Plus (A++) on two – reasonably quiet vinyl too
  • If you buy only one Large Group Hot Stamper jazz record from us, make it this one – the music is swingin’ fun and the sound is going to be very impressive, especially if you own any modern reissue
  • Rich, warm and full-bodied, the brass is phenomenal on this pressing – here is the Tubey Magic of the originals without the problems that cause many originals to be opaque and uninvolving
  • A personal favorite – 5 stars: “This is a true classic. Essential music for all serious jazz collections.”

This Contemporary stereo LP has got that Modern Jazz Classics Magic. On a great copy such as this one you can really pick out each of the musicians and follow them throughout the course of the track. When you’re able to appreciate everyone’s contributions you really get a sense of how much work went into the making of 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.

What the best sides of Modern Jazz Classics 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 1960
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the studio

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 discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

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.

Players

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

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 do get copies in from time to time.

What We’re Listening For on Modern Jazz Classics

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness common to most LPs.
  • Tight, note-like bass with clear fingering — which ties in with good transient information, as well as the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the players.
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The musicians aren’t “back there” somewhere, way behind the speakers. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt — Howard Holzer and Roy DuNann in this case — would have put them.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Move 
Groovin’ High
Opus de Funk 
‘Round Midnight 
Four Brothers 
Shaw ‘Nuff

Side Two

Bernie’s Tune 
Walkin’ Shoes 
Anthropology 
Airegin 
Walkin’ 
Donna Lee

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.

Hi-Fidelity

What do we love about these vintage pressings? The timbre of every instrument is Hi-Fi in the best sense of the word. The unique sound of every instrument is reproduced with remarkable fidelity. That’s what we at Better Records mean by “Hi-Fi,” not the kind of Audiophile Phony BS Sound that passes for Hi-Fidelity these days. There’s no boosted top, there’s no bloated bottom, there’s no sucked-out midrange. This is Hi-Fidelity for those who recognize The Real Thing when they hear it. I’m pretty sure our customers do, and whoever picks this record up is guaranteed to get a real kick out of it.