Reference: FSRCD 976
Bar code: 8427328609760
Looking for a more relaxed jazz scene, veteran swing and bebop drummer J.C. Heard (1917-1988) moved from NYC to Los Angeles in 1964, carrying his suitcase and the kind of assuredness that comes only from a lifetime of varied experience. Upon his arrival, bassist Howard Rumsey—who had been guiding the Lighthouse club’s booking policies since 1949—offered Heard a job, and the drummer put together a fine quintet to play alternating with the house band.
In these live performances of Heard’s group, we breathe an atmosphere of total improvisation and spirited blowing, and by the sound of it, its members couldn't have been having a better time. On the instrumental level, Bill Perkins plays tenor and baritone saxophone with great authority and clarity brought on by his exemplary cleanness of attack and perfect volume control. On guitar, the imagination of Joe Pass and his sense of structure give his up-tempo solos a swinging flow, an effective continuity with a light touch that is pure musical thought. Frank Strazzeri, a sadly underappreciated pianist, proves he was a valuable asset, playing as a comper and a soloist with equal proficiency. On bass, a young Jim Hughart lays more than capable support, while the high level drumming of leader J.C. Heard—a real swinger—is the propelling force behind the group. The spirit is there from the start through every performance and the musicians just kept right on playing with seemingly unending energy.
These recordings demonstrate the creativity and talent of these inspired jazzmen, the only example we have of this J.C. Heard group at work.
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