Review by Claude March 25, 2008 (6 of 6 found this review helpful)
|Having another Art Pepper Contemporary album on SACD is great, but the choice of this album is unexpected and questionable, because it is a 1972 compilation of previously unreleased material, released during Pepper's long hiatus. It is comprised of a 1956 session with Warne Marsh and several out-takes from the albums "Meets the rhythm section" (1957), "Gettin' together" (1960) and "Intensity" (1960).
The Pepper/Warne session (2 of the 5 tracks are alternate takes) has also been released seperately on a K2-mastered CD in Japan, and the out-takes have been released as bonus tracks on the CD reissues of the corresponding albums (as well as DCC remasters), so reissuing this compilation does not make sense anymore from a discographical point of view.
But the music and the sound are great, so this MFSL SACD (mastered by Rob LoVerde) is a nice addition for those who don't already have much Art Pepper in their collection. As I own "Meets the rhythm section" and "Intensity" as Analogue Productions 45rpm reissues (which come without bonus tracks), I like having the out-takes released on an audiophile format.
It would be interesting to know if the tracks from this album were transferred from the same tapes as the individual albums, or if a compilation tape (created in 1972 for the album release) was used.
The sound on the Pepper/Warne session is very early stereo (November 1956) but captures the intruments very realistically, in Roy DuNann's typical close-up and dry recording style. The tapes seem to have worn less well and the top-end treble is lacking a bit.
"The man I love" from "Art Pepper Meets the rhythm section" session is also available on an Analogue Productions SACD (mastered by Doug Sax), so I was able to two different SACD versions of the same track
Art Pepper meets The Rhythm Section
The Doug Sax SACD sounds veiled, more distant and has a narrower soundstage. I think the MFSL transfer comes closer to the recording, because the 45rpm reissue of the 1957 album sounds similar. In retrospect, the AP SACD is rather dissappointing once you've heard the 45rpm LP and now this SACD.
Another track for which I could compare two audiophile masterings is "The Way I look tonight", also present on the DCC CD of "Gettin' together", mastered by Steve Hoffman. This time, it's the CD that wins, it sounds a bit brighter, more immediate and dynamic. This may not only be a mastering difference, but could also be due to the use of different tapes.
A highly recommended SACD.
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