What would life be without its little surprises? Did bassist Percy Heath ever conceive the notion that he would get his first recording as leader 50 years into his career? Ah, the vagaries of fate! But this is a moment to savour and to enjoy. Heath got to choose the songs, and the band at hand has an uncanny understanding. The music is sublime; there is no over heated ardour at work, just a quiet fire which kindles the flame that enraptures.
Heath opens with the solo “A Love Song,” his bass an eloquent voice singing its song directly to the heart. His is a compact ministration without need of flourish. He takes a different adjunct with the next tune. “Watergate Blues” is a swinging delight pushed by bassist Peter Washington. There are many twists in the unfolding of “Century Rag.” Time indeed is ragged, but pianist Jeb Patton is not one to tread the predictable and his time signatures cavort delightfully as he shifts pace and thrust seamlessly. Add clusters of notes and probing lines and this one becomes one for indulgement.
Patton cuts another impressive swath on his composition “Hanna’s Mood.” He is a player of great expression, bringing to the surface every little vignette that gives a song its depth and character. “No More Weary Blues” is an apt title and a buoyant tune with the Heath brothers locked in, and a great rhythm from “Tootie.” The wait was worth the while!