Art Pepper: Meets The Rhythm Section

Pepper's distinctly individual print is evident in this 1957 date, paired here with a session with Marty Paich from the previous year


Some reviews come easier than others. They’re more easily written when the jazz hack has something to sink the teeth into other than musicians who are supremely competent yet lacking in identity. When the instrumental personalities are as strong and clearly defined as they are here, 300 words are written in no time.

Along with the likes of Paul Desmond, Bunky Green and Lee Konitz, Pepper owed little to Charlie Parker, and Meets The Rhythm Section highlights this. By January 1957 his “voice” was personal. The rhythm section he met that day was the one then employed by Miles Davis in his first great quintet, with a still formative John Coltrane making up the number, and The Man I Love as much as anything in this unassumingly essential set highlights how individual and section gelled. Pepper and the section had never worked together before.

In its original reviews Downbeat awarded five stars to Meets The Rhythm Section and four stars to The Marty Paich Quartet Featuring Art Pepper, with which it is paired here. That seems pretty much on the money. Time has faded neither of them, but Paich for all his talents seems to lack the pianistic identity of Garland. Pepper is engaged from the off however and that carries the day. His flinty elegance on You And The Night And The Music highlights identity again – his work is as personal as a thumb print.

[Meets The Rhythm Section] (1) You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To; Red Pepper Blues; Imagination; Waltz Me Blues; Straight Life; Jazz Me Blues; Tin Tin Deo; Star Eyes; Birk’s Works; The Man I Love; [The Marty Paich Quartet Featuring Art Pepper] (2) What’s Right For You; You And The Night And The Music; Sidewinder; Abstract Art; Over The Rainbow; All The Things You Are; Pitfall; Melancholie Madeline; Marty’s Blues (77.04)
Pepper (as) on all tracks, with:
(1) Red Garland (p); Paul Chambers (b); Philly Joe Jones (d). Los Angeles, 19 January 1957.
(2) Marty Paich (p); Buddy Clark (b); Frank Capp (d). Hollywood, August 1956.
Poll Winners Records PWR 27298