Brothers Jimmy Heath and Albert "Tootie" Heath carry on together in the tradition of the Heath Brothers band, minus their deceased brother, bassist Percy Heath. David Wong ably fills the bass chair, while pianist Jeb Patton has been working with the Philadelphia-based siblings for going on his dozenth year. There's a certain ease and calm present in Jimmy Heath's tenor sax playing that reflects the wisdom of his seasoned years, an assured stance that is never rushed or over-pronounced. This tone sets up the type of uncomplicated mainstream modern jazz based in bop that most fans can embrace and enjoy. It is refreshing that Jimmy Heath can still crank out new compositions that retain both traditional values and a universal appeal. And – if it actually needs to be said – Albert Heath is one of the greatest jazz drummers of all time, and continues on his tasteful, skillful, perfectly balanced path, a common example for students and fellow pros to follow. A perfect example of their combined expertise kicks off the set with "Changes," an effortless, light, breezy, and melodic a type of straight-ahead jazz as you will ever find.
Unlike some of his other Riverside recordings, the accent on this Jimmy Heath CD reissue is very much on his tenor playing (rather than his arrangements). Heath is in excellent form with a quintet that also includes pianist Wynton Kelly, guitarist Kenny Burrell, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath. The instantly recognizable hard bop saxophonist performs four standards and three of his own compositions, including the original versions of "Gingerbread Boy" and "Project S." It's a good example of his playing talents.
Here is one of the musical giants of the 20th century, poised on the precipice of greatness. Between the spring of 1957 and the winter of 1958, during which time Lush Life was recorded, the music of tenor saxophonist John Coltrane (1926-1967) was developing in giant steps, thanks in great part to a six-month 1957 stint with Thelonious Monk that had much to do with sharpening Coltrane’s harmonic conception and torrential attack. Lush Life contains Coltrane’s first recordings as sole leader, his initial date fronting a pianoless trio, and one of his first extended readings of a ballad, Billy Strayhorn’s resplendent title track. We also hear him at the helm of a quartet and quintet, featuring pianist Red Garland, with trumpeter Donald Byrd added to “Lush Life.”
Reissue with the latest 2015 remastering. Comes with liner notes. One of the hippest, hardest albums that trombonist JJ Johnson ever cut for Columbia – a session we'd rank right up there with his amazing JJ Inc record, and like that one a really cooking hardbop record that maybe even rivals the best on Blue Note and Prestige at the time! As with that gem, the strength here is really the group – not just tremendous trombone from JJ, but great work from Nat Adderley on trumpet, Bobby Jaspar on tenor and flute, Cedar Walton on piano, Spanky DeBrest on bass, and Albert Heath on drums – all working with a soaring, soulful energy that's a lot more hardbop heavy than you might expect from JJ Johnson on some of his other projects for the label.