, and has penned numerous tunes that have become classics, including "CTA" and "Gingerbread Boy." Like Gillespie before him, he reaches beyond jazz in his endless artistic search, having penned suites, compositions for string quartets and a symphonic work.
The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, under the dual directorships of drummer Clarence Acox and multiple reedman Michael Brockman, enticed Heath into their fold for the timeless and marvelous Jimmy Heath: The Endless Search Suite. It is an orchestral offering that leaps out of the speakers with a rich fanfare of gorgeous harmony and tight rhythmic zest. Then Heath solos, and proves himselffor those unfamiliara giant of melodic invention and improvisational energy; in his eighth decade, and still kickin' it. For comparison's sake, Heath the soloist is probably closest to a fellow under-sung tenor man, George Coleman
another all-too-brief Davis cohort. Both saxophonists stay firmly within the mainstream, with extraordinary intelligence, invention and no-holds-barred verve.
Besides Heath's efforts, there is no shortage of premier soloing happening in the Seattle Repertory Orchestra. On the suite itself, Brockman wields an alto axe that cranks up the intensity a notch, giving way to a bright and shining trumpet turn by Jay Thomas. All this in the eight-plus minute "Part I." It stays just as stellar in "Part III: Where It Started." Heath, pianist Randy Halberstadt
style, around the plunger mute. A fantastic wrap-up to one of the top big band efforts of the year.
Track Listing: The Endless Search Suite: Part I: The Endless Search; Part II: Inside Your Heart; Part III: Where It Started; Sleeves; Passage Noir; Haitian Fight Song; Creole Love Song.
Personnel: Jimmy Heath: tenor saxophone (1-4); Michael Brockman: lead alto and soprano saxophones, clarinet; Mark Taylor: alto and tenor saxophone; Hadley Caliman: tenor saxophone; Travis Ranney: tenor saxophone, clarinet; Bill Ramsay: baritone saxophone; Scott Macpherson: alto saxophone (6); Scott Brown: lead trombone; David Marriott, Jr. trombone; Dan Marcus: trombone; Bill Anthony: trombone; David Bentley: bass trombone; Cesar Amaral: lead trumpet (1-4); Andy Omdahl: trumpet (lead 6); Dennis Haldane: trumpet; Jay Thomas: trumpet; Thomas Marriott: trumpet; Clarence Acox: drums; Phil Sparks: bass; Randy Halberstadt: piano (1-4, 6); Bill Anschell: piano (5); Jon Hansen: tuba (5).