Pepper Adams: I've Just Seen Her
I've Just Seen Her
Pepper Adams (baritone sax)
Encounter! (Original Jazz Classics 892)
Composed by Charles Strouse & Lee Adams.
Recorded: New York, December 11-12, 1968
Rating: 96/100 (learn more)
The album title Encounter! refers mainly to the rare joining of Pepper Adams with Zoot Sims in the front line. But Adams's striking ballad feature, "I've Just Seen Her," is as good as, if not better than, any of the tracks that capture both horns blazing. The attractive tune came from the failed 1962 musical All American, from which only one other song, "Once Upon a Time," has had any staying power. Adams was inspired by the Duke Ellington version of "I've Just Seen Her" that featured Paul Gonsalves. (Columbia Records had backed the musical, and, in addition to releasing an Original Broadway Cast album, somehow convinced Ellington to record 10 selections from it.)
Tommy Flanagan's lovely impressionistic intro leads to Adams's unpretentious rendition of the theme, direct and without any false sentimentality, his elongated sighing notes particularly effective emotionally. Adams's long solo is a logically constructed exploration of the tune's rich harmonic structure, and his gushing fluidity contradicts the common misconception of the baritone sax as being cumbersome. Flanagan's accompaniment is delicate, detailed and sensitive, words that also describe his lyrical solo, which is in sharp contrast to Adams's brawny, hard-edged yet warmly expressive attack. Adams's reprise artfully reinforces the inherent beauty of this show tune. The overall power of Adams's performance is such that it appears that the producers chose to ignore various pops and squeaks emitted by his horn during his solo, as it's unlikely he reached this high level again, if any additional takes were attempted.
Reviewer: Scott Albin