- An original Galaxy pressing with INCREDIBLE Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides
- You’d be hard-pressed to find a copy that’s this well balanced, big and lively, with wonderful clarity in the mids and highs
- This live album features music from Pepper’s 1981 engagement at the Maiden Voyage club in Los Angeles
- 4 stars: “Pepper, pianist George Cables, bassist David Williams, and drummer Carl Burnett are heard at their best on ‘Allen’s Alley’ and ‘Samba Mom Mom.'”
- Here are some other reviews for the better Live Jazz Club Recordings we’ve auditioned over the years
This commentary is from 2010 or so.
We’d wanted to do Art Pepper Today for more than a decade, but the original Galaxy pressings were just too thick and dark to earn anything approaching a top sonic grade. Thirty years ago on a very different system I had one and liked it a lot, but there was no way I could get past the opaque sound I was now hearing on the more than half-dozen originals piled in front of me.
So, almost in desperation we tried an OJC reissue from the ’90s. You know, the ones that all the audiophiles on the web will tell you to steer clear of because it has been mastered by Phil DeLancie and might be sourced from digital tapes.
Or digitally remastered, or somehow was infected with something digital somehow.
Well, immediately the sound opened up dramatically, with presence, space, clarity and top end extension we simply could not hear on the originals. Moreover, the good news was that the richness and solidity of the originals was every bit as good. Some of the originals were less murky and veiled than others, so we culled the worst of them for trade and put the rest into the shootout with all the OJCs we could get our hands on.
Now, it’s indisputable that Phil DeLancie is credited on the jacket, but I see George Horn‘s writing in the dead wax of the actual record, so I really have no way of knowing whether in fact Mr Delancie had anything to do with the copies I was auditioning. They don’t sound digital to me, they’re just like other good George Horn-mastered records I’ve heard from this period.
And of course we here at Better Records never put much stock in what record jackets say; the commentary on the jackets rarely has much to do with the sound of the records inside them in our experience.
And, one more surprise awaited us as we were plowing through our pile of copies.
When we got to side two we found that the sound of the Galaxy originals was often competitive with the best of the OJCs. Which means that there’s a good probability that some of the original pressings I tossed for having bad sound on side one had very good, perhaps even shootout winning sound, on side two.
This is a lesson I hope to take to heart in the future. I know very well that the sound of side one is independent of side two, but somehow in this case I let my prejudice against the first side color my thinking about the second.
Of all the people who should know better…
- These sides are exceptionally low-distortion, lively, solid and dynamic – just what this live music needs
- “Altoist Art Pepper’s 1981 appearances at Los Angeles’ now-obsolete Maiden Voyage club were fully documented, resulting in three LPs… Although only a year away from his death, the great Art Pepper was still very much in his prime for this memorable outing.” 4 1/2 Stars
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! (more…)
AN EXCELLENT A++ SIDE TWO for this album — this is an excellent recording from 1980, one of the best of the later Art Pepper period during which Art was signed with Galaxy and was devoting his remaining years to playing and recording as much as possible. The album is engineered by Baker Bigsby, as is Art Pepper Today (1978), my personal favorite Art Pepper album and amazing sounding if you can find the right pressing (we’re working on it!). (more…)
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. (more…)
- You’ll find excellent Double Plus (A++) grades, or close to them, on this 1979 Art Pepper classic
- One of the few copies of Landscape to hit the site in a very long time – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- George Cables, Art’s longtime collaborator on piano, is nothing less than amazing on this record – this is the best I’ve ever heard him play
- 4 1/2 Stars: “Altoist Art Pepper was in inspired form during this Tokyo concert. This particular LP features Pepper on memorable versions of “True Blues,” “Sometime” (during which Pepper switches to clarinet), “Landscape” and “Over the Rainbow.” Pepper’s intensity and go-for-broke style are exhilarating throughout.”
Recorded in Japan in 1979, this is a really interesting album for Art Pepper. If you know much about his body of work, you know 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, with their notoriously bad sound (notorious around these parts anyway). What a waste of good vinyl. (more…)