Jimmy Heath (ts), Nat Adderley (cnt), Clark Terry (tp), Curtis Fuller, Tom McIntosh (tb), Dick Berg (Frh), Cannonball Adderley (as), Pat Patrick (bs), Wynton Kelly, Cedar Walton, Tommy Flanagan (p), Paul Chambers, Percy Heath (b), Al 'Tootie' Heath (d)
Reference: FSRCD 858
Bar code: 8427328608589
When Jimmy Heath returned in May 1959 after five years off the scene with personal problems, his skills and awareness of new trends were undiminished, recording as a sideman on a Blue Mitchell date and cutting his first LP as a leader for Riverside: The Thumper. Until then, he was recalled as the promising tenor saxophonist who had recorded in the early 1950s with Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Kenny Dorham, and J.J. Johnson, among others, and as the author of several notable originals, including 'CTA' and 'For Minors Only,' which become repertoire staples for many modern jazzmen.
Stylistically flexible as a writer, he is equally adept scoring for big bands, small or medium groups, and on The Thumper, he contributed five originals and all the arrangements for a fine sextet featuring himself, Wynton Kelly, Curtis Fuller and Nat Adderley.
On Really Big!, his second Riverside album, recorded in June 1960, Heath worked with a 10-piece band to get a big band sound and the loose feeling of a small group, writing six arrangements, with two from Tom McIntosh. A subtly swinging and inventive album resulted, graced by Heaths charging and emotive playing, and the work of trumpeter Clark Terry. Both albums marked Heaths artistic rebirth and triumphant return to a successful career.
"Jimmy Heath at age 33 made his recording debut as a leader on this Riverside session [...] The hard bop tenor-saxophonist is in superior form, contributing five originals (of which "For Minors Only" is best known), jamming with an all-star sextet (including cornetist Nat Adderley, trombonist Curtis Fuller, pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath) and taking two standards as ballad features. The excellent session of late '50s straightahead jazz is uplifted above the normal level by Heath's writing."
"Jimmy Heath's first chance to lead a fairly large group, an all-star ten-piece, found him well featured both on tenor and as an arranger/composer. With such colorful players as cornetist Nat Adderley, flugelhornist Clark Terry, altoist Cannonball Adderley, and either Cedar Walton or Tommy Flanagan on piano, Heath introduces a few originals (including "Big 'P'" and "A Picture of Heath") and uplifts "Green Dolphin Street," "Dat Dere," and "My Ideal," among others. A well-conceived set."
Both by Scott Yanow -All Music Guide
"John Coltrane and Jimmy Heath both turned from alto to tenor at the same time and for the same reasons. They wished to break from the inevitable comparison with Parker. Work was scarce, but there was more work for players of the larger horn. Jimmy Heath is rightly held in some regard (but not enough) as a composer. These sessions from Riverside show him as a most under-rated tenor player. His style on the horn sounds like a more austere John Coltrane and he is a fine improviser. It's no doubt due to the misfortunes of his life that he is not recognised as a more major figure, and many people will find as I did from this album that they have overlooked an important contributor to our music. All the signs were there for us, notably in Miles Davis's relentless quest to employ the young man - he must have been good.
More than most, Heath's career was circumscribed by events in his private life and he was for years prohibited from travelling away from the Philadelphia area. In New York for these sessions he was joined by a top class selection of sidemen, and the standard of soloing is very high all round. The result is a pair of modern sets verging on hard bop, made the more interesting by the use of so many of Heath's excellent themes.
Jordi Pujol has an insider's knowledge that enables his label to reveal to the rest of the world a seeming multitude of albums that it has overlooked - a worthy service indeed!"
-Steve Voce (Jazz Journal, June 2015)
"Tenorist Jimmy Heath is one of the last living musicians that played under the shadow of Charlie Parker. He switched from alto so hed stop being compared to the icon. His composing and arranging skills set him apart from guys like Dexter Gordon, and as these two single discs from the late 50s and early 60s attest, he knew how to swing a band.
The Sextet & Orchestra album includes a 1959 session (the most important year in jazz recordings BTW) with Nat Adderley/ct, Curtis Fuller/tb, Wynton Kelly/p, Paul Chambers/b and Tootie Heath/dr. His tenor glows on For All We Know and Dont You Know I Care, while the band sizzles on The Thumper. Adderleys coy sounding horn glows warmly on For Minors Only and the rhythm section defines hard bop. The Orchestra session beefs up with Clark Terry/tp, Cannonball Adderley/as, Pat Patrick/bs, Cedar Walton-Tommy Flanagan/p, Tom McIntosh/tb and Dick Berg/frhn and hit hard on Big P and a raucously driving Old Fashioned Fun while they add zest to Dat Dere and flavor to On Green Dolphin Street. Terrys sweet horn feels right at home here and everyone sounds inspired. WHEW!"
-George W. Harris (June 29, 2015)