The Pepper-Knepper Quintet

Pepper Adams / Jimmy Knepper

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The Pepper-Knepper Quintet Review

by Scott Yanow

Although Leonard Feather, in the original liner notes that are reproduced for this reissue, says that it is an oversimplification to call the music on this 1958 session "hard bop," the performances are actually pretty definitive of the idiom. Baritonist Pepper Adams, freshly arrived in New York from Detroit, co-leads a quintet with the up-and-coming trombonist Jimmy Knepper that also includes such young notables as pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Doug Watkins and drummer Elvin Jones. They perform an obscure Jon Hendricks song, a lyrical version of "All Too Soon," the straight-ahead bebop blues "Beaubien," a couple obscure originals, Duke Ellington's "I Didn't Know About You" (which has Kelly switching to a spooky-sounding organ) and Knepper's "Primrose Path." The blend between baritone and trombone is quite effective, the musicians all take consistently excellent solos and the music is state-of-the-art 1958 modern mainstream jazz; in other words, hard bop.

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