Sunday, November 22, 2015

CD Review: New Live Jazz Albums From Jazz Greats Art Pepper And Wes Montgomery

Jazz great Art Pepper is considered by many to be one of the best musicians to ever play the alto sax. His career as a band leader lasted over 30 years, before his death in 1982 at the age of 56. At the beginning of this year, Omnivore Recordings released a three individual CD set of live recordings from Art Pepper titled "Neon Art." Now Art Pepper's music returns to close out the year, as it began it, with another new, unreleased live show from Art Pepper titled "Live At Fat Tuesday's." It was released on October 30th through Elemental Music and was recorded in New York on April 15, 1981 and features one of Pepper's most exciting Quartets that included Milcho Leviev on piano, George Mraz on bass and Al Foster on drums. The new five-song set begins with the up-tempo pairing of "Rhythm-A-Ning" and "What Is This Thing Called Love?" as Pepper blazes a trail with his sax playing. It's wonderful to hear the in-between talk banter from Pepper as he describes his song choices, continuing with the mellowness of "Goodbye" and the eighteen-minute funky jam of "Make A List, Make A Wish." The disc closes with his classic up-beat tempo of "Red Car." You really get to hear the Art Pepper Quartet at their best in this live setting as this new CD pushes past the 70-minute mark. To find out more about the Art Pepper and the new live release "Live At Fat Tuesday's," please visit

Jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery was one of the iconic jazz musicians of the sixties, performing alongside fellow greats like Lionel Hampton, Cannonball Adderley and John Coltrane, who once asked him to join his band. At the beginning of this year, Resonance Records released "In The Beginning," a two-disc set of newly discovered recordings from Montgomery (review: On January 15th of 2016, Resonance Records returns with only the fourth live album from Wes Montgomery titled "One Night In Indy" and it also features The Eddie Higgins Trio. It was recorded on January 18, 1959 and showcases how amazing Montgomery performed live. Beginning with the exciting "Give Me The Simple Life," Wes' guitar definitely becomes the star of the stage. The Eddie Higgins trio gets more involved in the mellow sounds of "Prelude To A Kiss," before the tempo picks back up with the seven-minute romp of "Stompin' At The Savoy." Eddie Higgins and Wes Montgomery make beautiful music together performing the Thelonious Monk original "Ruby, My Dear," before closing with the quick-step of Cole Porter's "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To." To find out more about "One Night In Indy" from Wes Montgomery and The Eddie Higgins Trio, please visit

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