Art Pepper The Way It Was! on Numbered Limited-Edition Hybrid SACD from Mobile Fidelity
Mobile Fidelity’s Hybrid SACD Brings All-Star Jazz Sessions from 1950s to Life
Reissue of 1972 Collection Features Two Bonus Alternate Takes, Mini-LP Packaging
180-gram LP Also Available!
Sometimes, odd circumstances get in the way of great records and make the final product that much more rewarding. Art Pepper’s …The Way It Was! is an example of such an album. Released in 1972 by the legendary Contemporary Records label, the set is actually a compilation of phenomenal tracks recorded by the saxophone giant at four separate dates and with four different ensembles from 1956-1960. The material sat in the can for more than a decade until Pepper, particularly influenced by what he heard on the four unissued takes from a November 1956 session with tenor saxophonist Warne Marsh, decided to release it at a time when modal jazz dominated the landscape.
Pepper’s instincts proved correct. Everything here is stellar. It’s unthinkable that this music almost never saw the light of day. Despite pulling from various sessions, …The Way It Was! maintains continuity and showcases all of Pepper’s myriad musical dimensions. In conversation with Marsh—who, incredibly, recorded only one other time with his alto sax peer—Pepper makes improvised solos sound like planned compositions.
Such is the natural ease, delightful flow, and seamless chemistry that define performances like as the summery “All the Things You Are,” Dixieland-flavored “I Can’t Believe That You’re In Love With Me,” and jam-spawned version of Lester Young’s “Tickle Toe.” The non-Marsh cuts are equally strong, with “The Man I Love” and “The Way You Look Tonight” featuring two Miles Davis rhythm sections, respectively. Bassist Paul Chambers plays with both; Philly Joe Jones and Jimmy Cobb take turns behind the drums.
MoFi went to great lengths to preserve these historic sessions. After auditioning the master tapes, the engineers discovered that the commercial CD version had artificial echo added and that the bass was summed. (Having the bass summed is common practice for LP cutting when the bass is recorded to one side; summing the bass moves the lower frequencies closer to the middle of the soundstage and therefore allows the cutter head to inscribe the lacquer more effectively.) Of course, there was no need for the bass to be summed in MoFi’s version. And since the original tapes had no artificial echo, MoFi engineers saw no reason to manipulate the master tapes in this way.
In fact, the tapes sounded so good that there was no equalization done in the transfer process. The Tim de Paravicini modified Studer A-80 was plugged in directly to the Meitner A/D converters with nothing in the signal path, just a straight wire. As always special attention was made to calibration and getting the azimuth spot on. The results are stunning, what can be easily heard now is the natural tone of the room, improved detail, better soundstage and depth of field, and the most natural instrument tonality. Now, for the first time, listeners can hear the unaltered versions of these classic Art Pepper sessions.
Distinguished by a remarkably wide-open soundstage, superb depth, and unlimited ceiling, the reissue allows you to hear into Pepper’s creamy tones, polite albeit spirited leads, and emotional nuances. This is a luxurious mood painting in which you’ll easily get lost.
Limited to just 2500 numbered copies, the hybrid SACD features two bonus alternate takes from the Warne sessions and gatefold LP-style packaging. Call Music Direct and secure your collectable copy today!
Art Pepper The Way It Was! Track Listing:
1. I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me
2. All The Things You Are
3. What's New
4. Tickle Toe
5. The Man I Love
6. Autumn Leaves
7. The Way You Look Tonight
8. I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me (alternate take)
9. All The Things You Are (alternate take)
** This MOFI title does not contain a booklet.