Personnel: Art Pepper (alto & tenor saxophones, clarinet); Marty Paich (arranger, conductor); Herb Geller, Bud Shank, Charlie Kennedy (alto saxophone); Bob Enevoldsen (tenor saxophone, valve trombone); Bill Perkins, Richie Kamuca (tenor saxophone); Med Flory (baritone saxophone); Pete Candoli, Jack Sheldon, Al Porcino (trumpet); Vince De Rosa (French horn); Dick Nash (trombone); Russ Freeman (piano); Joe Mondragon (bass); Mel Lewis (drums).
Recorded at Contemporary's Studio, Los Angeles, California on March 14 & 28 & May 12, 1959. Originally released on Contemporary (7568). Includes liner notes by Nat Hentoff.
The ubiquitous Bud Shank played on many of arranger Marty Paich's sessions, including this West Coast answer to BIRTH OF THE COOL. MODERN JAZZ CLASSICS is more accurately described as a brilliantly executed homage to bebop itself, with its fresh treatments of "Anthropology," "Round Midnight," and Denzil Best's "Move," which opened BOTC as well. Of course, it's most of all a showcase for Art Pepper, the greatest mainstream alto player since Charlie Parker. The arrangements themselves are brisk, energetic, and thoroughly in the tradition. Whatever else he was, Art Pepper was no romantic lyricist so there are no dreamscapes here, the kind Gil Evans might write. Marty Paich was a West Coast modernist of a different sort.