Sunday, March 28, 2010

Art PEPPER - The Art Pepper Quartet 1956

Art PEPPER - The Art Pepper Quartet 1956
(No Alternate Takes)


Originally released on the defunct Tampa label and then on CD by the small V.S.O.P. label, this album features the great altoist Art Pepper with pianist Russ Freeman, bassist Ben Tucker and drummer Gary Frommer. Despite the inclusion of five alternate takes, there is still only around 41 minutes of music but the quality is high; even with his erratic lifestyle, Pepper never made a bad record. Highlights include Art's original "Diane," "Besame Mucho" and "Pepper Pot." Fine music, but not essential when one considers how many gems Art Pepper recorded during his rather hectic life.
By Scott Yanow. AMG.
"The Art Pepper Quartet," originally recorded for the Tampa label and reissued on CD by OJC, is one of the alto-saxophonist's best early albums. The session was recorded on November 25, 1956 and features Russ Freeman on piano, Ben Tucker on bass, and Gary Frommer on drums. "The Tampa Quartet," as it is affectionately referred to by collectors, along with the three volumes of the Complete Aladdin Recordings on Blue Note (two of which are currently out-of-print), are without a doubt his best work from the early to mid-1950s, and should be preferred hands down to titles like "Surf Ride" (see my review). With that being said, this disc gets four stars for two reasons. Even with five alternate takes the CD logs in at less than 45 minutes, and there are just so many other classic Pepper CDs available from OJC, including "Smack Up," "Intensity," "Meets the Rhythm Section" and "Gettin' Together" (see my review of the latter) that interested parties should start elsewhere and work their way to "Tampa."
By  Michael B. Richman.
Art Pepper- (Alto Sax, Clarnet);
Russ Freeman- (Piano);
Ben Tucker- (Bass);
Gary Frommer- (Drums).

01. Art's Opus 5:48
02. I Surrender, Dear Barris, 5:31
03. Diane Pepper 3:35
04. Pepper Pot Pepper 5:03
05. Besame Mucho Skylar, Velazquez 4:00
06. Blues at Twilight Pepper 3:58
07. Val's Pal Pepper 2:03


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