With the exception of 1992's Born Again, saxophonist Tom Scott's output for GRP was consistently disappointing. Although obviously a talented player, Scott's willingness to play arrangements whose main goal was to gain radio airplay resulted in commercial and quickly dated music. Scott is heard with smaller groups throughout this 1988 effort, which include keyboardist Randy Kerber and guitarist Dean Parks, plus guest appearances by guitarists Eric Gale and Michael Landau; all this looks promising but is actually quite routine. None of the nine funky originals were infectious enough to catch on; Scott sounds fairly anonymous in spots, particularly when he utilizes a WX-7; and it is obvious that the music was made strictly for the money. At best, this is superior background music
An innovative Baroque composer whose reputation was steadily on the rise during the anything-goes years of the waning twentieth century, Jan Dismas Zelenka was born in Lounovice, Bohemia (now part of the Czech Republic). He was a court musician in Dresden for most of his career, and both J.S. Bach and Georg Philipp Telemann knew and admired his music. Except for brief periods of travel, during which he refined his craft (he took lessons from Fux and Lotti even after his own technique had been perfected), he served as a double bass player in the court orchestra and later aided the ailing court music director Heinichen in his duties…
This set works very well. Dave Grusin and his younger brother Don Grusin use a variety of keyboards to create a series of colorful duets. Other than Dori Caymmi's "Southern Wind," all of the fairly spontaneous yet well-planned performances are originals by one or both of the brothers. Even listeners who are not that much into electronics will find much of interest on this melodic and funky, yet often unpredictable set.
The third of three volumes chronicling Pepper's complete Aladdin recordings, Blue Note's Art of Pepper, Vol. 3 finds the West Coast alto saxophonist in top form over the course of 12 stunning cuts. Recorded in 1957, the set takes in both Pepper originals ("Holiday Flight," "Surf Ride") and choice standards ("Long Ago and Faraway," "Without a Song"). There's also a fine cover of the rare Bud Powell cut "Webb City." Topped off with excellent work by pianist Carl Perkins, bassist Ben Tucker, and drummer Chuck Flores, this collection is a must-have for all Pepper fans.
One of the greatest West Coast jazz LPs of all time! Art Pepper plays beautiful spiralling alto lines with a tight quartet that includes Russ Freeman on piano, Chuck Flores on drums, and Ben Tucker on bass. The whole thing swings in a way that's tough to find on some of Pepper's other albums from the time, and the track list includes "Dianne's Dilemma", "Blues In", "Blues Out", and "Cool Bunny".
Blue Note's The Return of Art Pepper: The Complete Art Pepper Aladdin Recordings compiles the 13 final masters that the alto saxophonist recorded for Aladdin between August 1956 and January 1957. These are titled The Return of Art Pepper, since they were recorded shortly after he completed a jail sentence in 1956. As a result, Pepper's chops are a little rusty, but you can hear that he still has a passion for playing, and he does improve over the course of these tracks. For serious Pepper fans, it's worth a listen, but for less dedicated fans, there are better places to become acquainted with his work.