Out of print -- at least in the USA -- for years, it's good to have this available again -- thanks, Enja & Koch!!! Pepper Adams was one of the finest exponents of hard-bop baritone saxophone, and a fine, under-rated tunesmith as well. Witness the deeply heartfelt, rhapsodic ballad paying tribute to Cannonball Adderley, "Julian" (co-written with Mraz) and the catchy, almost Brubeck-esque "Ad Astra." His group is tight, swinging and empathetic -- they play as a unit, a band, not just a pick-up group. Norris' playing is typically exquisite, a light-fingered melodic style in the vein of Randy Weston, Horace Parlan and, yes, Nat "King" Cole, including a subtle classical tinge. Mraz is rock-solid and Ntshoko balances restraint and drive. The program is 50150 originals and choice covers (including two by Thad Jones). Julian is an example of mainstream jazz at its timeless best, helmed by a neglected master of one of The Big Horns.
Artist / Group Name:Pepper Adams
Genre:Straight-Ahead / Classic
Record Label:Enja Records
Musicians:Pepper Adams (baritone sax), Walter Norris (piano), George Mraz (bass), Makaya Ntshoko (drums)