Art Pepper - Modern Jazz Classics

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By most standards, a "little" big-band album 'Modern Jazz Classics'. This set carried the bebop canon, such as it was, into the realm of California cool jazz, using Art Pepper's chops on milky tenor and sharp alto saxophones alongside plush arrangements from Marty Paich. There were key links on this session to the Miles Davis nonet's Birth of the Cool a decade earlier, which opened with the same Denzil Best tune. But Pepper offered himself up as a more acidic improviser, jagging solo structures despite the comparative clarity in his tone. Some of the most compelling moments come during Horace Silver's "Opus de Funk," which Pepper spins as an intricate, if not entirely funky, platform for full-band riffing and pinching alto contrasts with the trumpet-driven brass section. There is a continual bowling-over process here, with Pepper overwhelmed by the full colors surrounding him, and then the ensemble likewise startled by Pepper's tart intensity.

Authentic vinyl reissue pressed by Original Jazz Classics for Fantasy Records.

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