Reference: FSRCD 428
Bar code: 8427328604284
In the summer of 1956, the Los Angeles jazz scene was in for a treat with the comebacks of two of its local heroes, Chet Baker & Art Pepper, who had been long absent for very different reasons. The good impression Chet made on his European tour had brought him a lot of artistic recognition.
His trumpet playing was more authoritative and Baker himsself appeared much more mature, no longer the « young man with a horn » but a musician now full of newmusical ideas. Art Peppers comeback, after a long, drug-related incarceration, created a tremendous stir of excitement among jazz fans and musicians alike. Very soon, everyone agrred that «Pepper actually sounded better since his return».
Chet and Art were at their creative best back then, and these two sessions are the only recorded examples of both jazzmen playing together in the front line of a small group. These sides are a high point in their extensive discographie, and we have prodicer Dick Bock to thank for them.
APART FROM THIS CD BEING THE ONLY COMPREHENSIVELY UNIFIED RELEASE OF THE CELEBRATED CHET BAKER ART PEPPER «PLAYBOYS» COLLABORATIONS, IT IS PARTICULARLY NOTEWORTHY THAT, FOR FIRST TIME, THE FULL HISTORY OF THESE RECORDING, INCLUDING THE CORRECT DATES ON WHICH THEY WERE MADE, IS REVEALED IN THE INSIDE LINER NOTES FOR THIS ALBUM.
"This 2007 disc gathers all known sides cut during a July 26, 1956 confab led by West Coast cool purveyors Chet Baker (trumpet) and Art Pepper (alto sax). Keen-eyed enthusiasts will note that this particular date occurred during a remarkable week -- July 23 through July 31 -- of sessions held at the behest of Pacific Jazz label owner and producer Dick Bock at the Forum Theater in Los Angeles. Recordings made during this week not only inform The Route, but three other long-players as well: Let's Get Lost, Chet Baker & Crew, and At the Forum Theater. These were likewise the first sides cut by Baker since returning from his triumphant and extended stay in Europe.
The Route compiles all 11 tracks by the sextet featuring Richie Kamuca (tenor sax), Pete Jolly (piano), Leroy Vinnegar (bass), and Stan Levey (drums) in support of Baker and Pepper. Bock had no immediate plans to use these recordings for any one album, that is to say he incorporated the titles throughout various compiles released on Pacific Jazz. Three months later, however, Baker and Pepper did record with a completely different personnel for the expressed purpose of creating what would become known as Playboys and alternately Picture of Heath. Perhaps encouraged by the swinging interaction on Pepper's "Tynan Time" and "Minor Yours," both cuts were featured at this get-together as well as during the Picture of Heath collaboration. There are a few unexpected moments of sheer brilliance spread throughout, such as the Baker penned title composition, which contains supple and nicely contrasting solos from Kamuca and Vinnegar -- whose solid pendulum accurately swings all through this collection. Complete Playboys Sessions 1956 is recommended for completists as well as curious consumers wishing to expand their knowledge of the light and airy rhythms that typify the cool West Coast jazz scene of the mid-'50s."
Lindsay Planer -All Music Guide
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