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Album Review

Pepper Adams: Live at Room at the Top

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Pepper Adams: Live at Room at the Top
Recorded live in Alberta, Canada, in late September, 1972, Live at Room at the Top hits a top spot. Brought to light by intrepid saxophonist Cory Weeds and his archival Reel to Reel label (part of his Cellar Music Group) Pepper powers his way to the front of the bandstand poised, muscular and insistent with a versatility born from instinct and endurance.

Like a lit fuse, Thad Jones inaugural burner "Three and One" finds Adams' smooth but boisterous horn instantly engaged, on one of those rare nights when the band was behind him, not vice versa. Adams then enchants all gathered with the first time play of his own stately meditation "Civilization and its Discontents," followed by "Patrice," a one-two shot that serve as the jumping romp on the setlist. "Patrice" wouldn't be recorded officially until a year later on the Tony Williams-produced Emphera (Spotlite Records, 1974).

Not a man to boast or regale himself (though in his later years he did become somewhat antagonistic at being pigeon-holed as a sideman), Adams' deserved to step out much more than he did, which gives Live at Room at the Top another very active plus in a full plus column. By the time pianist Tommy Banks, guitarist-turned-bassist-for-the-night Bobby Cairns and drummer Tom Doran have each ripped off big, ballsy, introductory solos of their own on "Three and One" the tables are bopping hard and happy in Alberta.

A cure-all course in bop ensemble, Live at Room at the Top is all great fun as the legendary Canadian trio cooks with a wild, structured abandon, as on Banks' mad cap comping on the fire breathing "Oleo" and Cairns' poppy solo and overall stealthy magnetism of "Time On My Hands," high points in a most joyful listening experience.

Track Listing

Three And One; Civilization and its Discontents; Patrice; Oleo;'Tis

Personnel

Pepper Adams: saxophone, baritone; Tommy Banks: piano; Bobby Cairns: bass, electric; Tom Doran: drums.

Album information

Title: Live at Room at the Top | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Reel To Real

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