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  Fantasy -
  Art Pepper: Modern Jazz Classics
  "Modern Jazz Classics"

Art Pepper + Eleven
Track listing:
  1. Move
2. Groovin' High
3. Opus De Funk
4. 'Round Midnight
5. Four Brothers
6. Shawnuf
7. Bernie's Tune
8. Walkin' Shoes
9. Anthropology
10. Airegin
11. Walkin'
12. Donna Lee
13. Walkin' (Alternate Take 2)
14. Walkin' (Alternate Take 2)
15. Donna Lee (Alternate Take)
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Reviews: 2

Review by sgb February 8, 2005 (4 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Noted jazz musicologist, Mark Gardner, rightly places Art Pepper atop a distinguished list of improvisers commonly associated with the west coast jazz movement. Pepper's astonishing brushes with danger in both his life and his music have been the subject of many a discussion dealing with the genesis of improvisational greatness, and, in Pepper's case, the juxtaposition of high risk in both his life and music seem to have gifted the man with talents that few of his contemporaries could match.

Modern Jazz Classics may well be Pepper at his most traditional, but the improvisational greatness shines through as he takes on the talented barrages of eleven (count 'em) of the best sidemen in the business, whipping them into a musical frenzy that can thrill even the most jaded listener.I dare you to listen to this record without tapping your toes. The music swings from the very first beat, captivating even novice listeners. This may well be Art's masterpiece (if not this, then maybe it's Intensity).

The SA-CD remaster sounds, uh, pretty good, maybe even great. I couldn't help myself: I had to listen to this from start to finish before I could convince myself to attend to some more pressing needs. The trombones have just enough of that brassy sound to sound plausibly real. And even though the engineers compressed the thing almost to death, there's a hint here and there at how great those early Contemporary pressings must have sounded. Art's horn is a little shrill and dry at times, but, hey, this is a 47 year-old record, right?

Errands attended to, I quickly returned to this new SACD for another listen to Four Brothers and Shaw 'Nuff before it was time to pull the secret weapon off my shelf of jazz CDs.

Imagine yourself watching one of those TV game shows where a buzzer announces that the contestant has been defeated. Now, take a listen to another CD version of Modern Jazz Classics that happened to be released at the dawn of the digital era. I am, of course, referring to MFCD 805, an early MOFI silver disk that never got the attention it deserved. WHOA!!! This version totally knocks the new SA-CD out of contention for the best sounding digital release, I'm afraid. The air around the instruments sounds more real, as does the texture and spatial rightness that the new SA-CD doesn't even hint at. Then there's this sense of instrumental palpability that's so striking on the MoFi. What the heck happened here?

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Review by analogue June 19, 2009 (2 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This is easilly one of the best sounding jazz sacd's one can buy. The music is superb and extremely enjoyable still 50 years after it was recorded. This sacd makes it to many critics best sounding sacd lists and its easy to see.....hear why.

The sound is spectacular with the horns sounding extremely real. There is a very smooth and warm soundstage set up in front of the listener. All instruments sound real and alive. The musicianship is top notch and its hard to sit still listening to this album.

Regardless what the liner notes says this does indeed sound like west coast jazz. And the west coast scene has a flavour all its own. Different from the east sound.

Highly recommended.

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