Personnel: Art Pepper (clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone); Howard Roberts (guitar); Dan Smiley, Audrey DeSilva, Greg Mazmanian, Emily VanValkenburgh, Clifton Foster, Patrice Anderson, John Tenney (violin); Sharon O'Connor (cello); Charlie Kennedy (alto saxophone); Richie Kamuca, Warne Marsh (tenor saxophone); Med Flory (baritone saxophone); Conte Candoli, Jack Sheldon, Al Porcino (trumpet); Vincent DeRosa (French horn); Dick Nash (trombone); Bob Enevoldsen (valve trombone); Dolo Coker, George Cables, Red Garland, Ronnie Ball, Russ Freeman , Stanley Cowell, Tommy Flanagan, Wynton Kelly (piano); Frank Butler, Gary Frommer, Jimmy Cobb , Mel Lewis, Philly Joe Jones, Billy Higgins , Carl Burnett (drums).
Recording information: Contemporary's Studio, Los Angeles, CA; Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, CA; Village Vanguard, New York, NY.
Arranger: Marty Paich.
Perhaps the greatest white bebopper of his or any other generation, alto saxophonist Art Pepper is well served by this new selection of ESSENTIAL STANDARDS, gathering key tracks from his long association with Contemporary records from the late '50s up until his death in 1982. While Denzil Best's bebop classic "Move" isn't exactly a "standard," it's a welcome addition from Pepper's only large-group session, the Marty Paich-arranged ART PEPPER + ELEVEN (MODERN JAZZ CLASSICS). Other highlights include a plaintive "Here's That Rainy Day," from the haunting '70s with-strings WINTER MOON, and "All The Things You Are," a rare duet with the obliquely cool tenor saxophonist Warne Marsh. And no Pepper collection would be complete without a track or two ("You'd Be So Nice To Come To," a Pepper favorite, and "Imagination") from perhaps his greatest date, 1956's MEETS THE RHYTHM SECTION, that being Red Garland (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), and Philly Joe Jones (drums) of Miles Davis's classic '50s quintet. As with the Chet Baker ESSENTIAL STANDARDS, those seeking an introduction to this great musician could do much worse than pick this one up.