bentucker

Art Pepper Quartet

Wow, Omnivore really knocked it out of the park with this clear vinyl reissue of Art Pepper’s classic quartet date. Pepper is joined on this late 1956 session by Russ Freeman-piano, Ben Tucker-bass, and Gary Frommer-drums. It was originally issued in 1957 on Tampa Records, and various reissues (some of dodgy quality) have hit the shelves since. OJC did a nice CD reissue in ‘94 with several bonus tracks, but this pressing, which was cut by Kevin Gray from the original mono tapes, sounds pretty darn spectacular. If you dig Art’s west coast cool vibe before his life went completely off the rails, this one’s a keeper. The LP does include an alternate take of “Blues at Twilight” which is a neat variation. However, I keep returning to the Pepper original “Pepper Pot” and I’ve always liked Pepper’s take on “Besame Mucho”, though I am more partial to the approach taken with his late 70s/early 80s bands which incorporated a bit of a Coltrane-esque vibe. Great listen, and still easily/inexpensively found

Grant Green ‘Sunday Morning’

I love the way Grant Green’s 4th album floats atop the room. Mixing standard and originals, this aptly titled and FANTASTIC record tends to get lost amongst Green’s better-known albums. That’s a drag because Green’s quartet, which features the Bens (Tucker on bass and Dixon on drums) along with the underrated Kenny Drew on piano, knock this 1961 session out of the freakin’ park. Green and Drew are incredibly well-matched…just amazing playing across the board. Drew is the hero of the session with line after line of melodic, graceful, fleet-fingered magic that goes toe-to-toe with Green’s propensity for single-line playing. I must call attention to the presence of the bass in the mix here which cuts through in a way that’s prominent and pleasing—if you’re one of those folks who strains a bit to hear the detail in acoustic bass when it isn’t occupying enough of the soundstage, this record will blow your stack. Great day at the mixing console by the Notorious RVG. Put down your phone/tablet/laptop, go to your record store of choice and pick up this brand new reissue from Slow Down Sounds RIGHT NOW. A late contender for my top 10 vinyl reissues of 2019, this all-analog, Kevin Gray cut, gorgeous tip-on (and heavy) jacket replica is VERY reasonably priced and sounds incredible. This is up there with Music Matters and Tone Poet in terms of sonics and overall quality @slowdownsounds