An expanded version of SV-115 Art Pepper - Surf Ride. The first date finds the alto saxophonist in fine form, leading a quartet consisting of pianist Hampton Hawes, bassist Joe Mondragon, and drummer Larry Bunker. Pepper primarily sticks to originals, though he offers a warm rendition of the standard "These Foolish Things" as well. Pepper sounds a little more adventurous on the second date, accompanied by pianist Russ Freeman, bassist Bob Whitlock, and drummer Bobby White. Two takes of "Chili Pepper" (a Latin-flavored reworking of the venerable "Tea for Two"), two versions of the rapid-fire "Suzy the Poodle" (based upon "[Back Home Again In] Indiana"), a lush arrangement of the ballad "Everything Happens to Me," and a swinging performance of Lester Young's "Tickle Toe" (which incorporates cornetist Bix Beiderbecke's tag from the recording of Paul Whiteman's "When") make up this session.
The CD MASTERPIECE SERIES, released from Jun 21 1985, under the VDJ-1501~1679 cat number, mastered by Joe Gastwirt and Daniel Hersch, was completely different masterings from the later OJC series, give a listen and you will get an unexpected listening experience! The title of this recording, Smack Up is ironic and inadvertently truthful. Within a short period, Art Pepper would begin spending many years in jail due to his heroin addiction; this was his next-to-last album from that period. Despite the bleak future, the great altoist (who never seemed to make an uninspired record during his unstable life) is in excellent form in a quintet with trumpeter Jack Sheldon, pianist Pete Jolly, bassist Jimmy Bond, and drummer Frank Butler.
A nice lost late number from Art Pepper – a freewheeling set of tracks that really show the influence of John Coltrane on Pepper's work – cut with a quartet that includes George Cables on piano, Tony Dumas on "blitz bass", and Carl Burnett on drums. The tracks are long, and two numbers have a really nice Latiny flair – with Art spinning out some aggressive solos on top of fast-running grooves, in a way you'd be surprised to hear on one of his albums from the time!