Pepper, Klemmer, Griffin, et al. – Ballads By Four – Our Shootout Winner from 2011

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Super Hot Stamper sound on BOTH sides of this wonderful Galaxy original pressing. There are four extended ballads, two on each side, and each of them is played with real passion and skill by this group of veteran horn men and their respective rhythm sections. The recording itself is one of the best I’ve heard on Galaxy, the other top Galaxy title being Art Pepper Today. Joe Henderson is the leader not mentioned in our listing title, so with his addition we have four of the best saxophone ballad players, backed by a top rhythm section, all performing material that has stood the test of time. This is the kind of record the world needs more of! 

Art Pepper doing Over the Rainbow in Super Hot Stamper sound? How could it not be amazing?

Since these sessions were recorded by the often brilliant Baker Bigsby, you can be sure the sound quality here is top-notch, as is of course the playing.

Speaking of playing, the real surprise is how good Klemmer is. He’s made a lot of bad smooth jazz albums, but in a real quartet the guy can really shine.

Side One

A++, with the kind of ANALOG sound we love here at Better Records. The horns are breathy, present, full-bodied and rich, with almost no smear.

This side was a touch veiled compared to side two, but still it deserves a full A++ grade.

Side Two

A bit more present but also a bit more midrangy. It does seem to get better as the record plays however. A++ again!

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Over the Rainbow
God Bless the Child

Side Two

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
Good Morning, Heartache

AMG Review

Four separate saxophonists (three tenors and an altoist) are featured on a ballad apiece on this LP, all of them accompanied by pianist Stanley Cowell, bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Roy Haynes. Art Pepper is quite passionate on “Over the Rainbow,” John Klemmer really stretches out (over 12 1/2 minutes) on “God Bless the Child,” Johnny Griffin finds warmth in “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” and Joe Henderson investigates “Good Morning, Heartache.” Each of the fine performances hold one’s interest, making this an LP worth getting.