Friday, October 02, 2009

Heath Brothers - Endurance (Jazz Legacy Productions, 2009)

The Heath Brothers, Jimmy and Tootie (RIP Percy) are one of the most famous families in jazz and the amount of jazz history these men have seen is simply amazing. On this album, the remaining brothers Jimmy on tenor and soprano saxophone and Tootie on drums are joined by Jeb Patton on piano, and David Wong on bass for an album of gently swinging and enjoyable mainstream jazz. "Changes" opens the disc with a pleasant medium tempo. Jimmy's calmly swinging saxophone and and a nicely paced piano solo are featured. "Wall to Wall" has a mid-tempo swaying swing and Jimmy's tenor saxophone is patient and pointed, sheared of all unnecessary ornaments. The pace picks up a bit near the end, with a little heat supplied by some able bodied piano comping. "Ballad From Leadership Suite" is one of the album's highlights, a saxophone led ballad that exudes a breathy and thoughtful patience. Patton chips in a spacious piano interlude. Jimmy Heath then returns to close the performance out, the tone and pacing of his saxophone playing is beautiful throughout. "Dusk in the City" is a medium up melodic performance with majestic saxophone and piano solos, and solid swinging from the whole band throughout. "Two Tees" is another swinging medium tempo performance, bright and happy and featuring Tootie stepping out for a nicely shaded drum solo. Slick piano and saxophone slide back in to conclude this performance. The standard "Autumn in New York" is taken at a thoughtful mid-tempo, with nice melodic saxophone playing. Claudio Roditi sits in with a shaker, giving the closing selection "The Rio Dawn" a nice energetic feel. This was an enjoyable and thoughtful album of jazz anchored by two certifiable legends of the music. There are no egos at play here, everyone focuses their energy toward the music and the songs and this makes for a very successful combination.
Endurance - amazon.com

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