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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Heckman: Born to be Blue

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The Great American Standard is a nourishing Mother. No matter how far away one might stray, or who has mined there before, the Canon always welcomes further improvisatory exploration. The challenge, of course, is for the artist to honor the source appropriately.With Born to Be BlueBay Area saxophonist, Steve Heckman takes us on yet another tour of familiar GAS workhorses. In doing so, he displays a formidable ability to wring new juice from seasoned fruit. It's an enjoyable ride, even if we know all the stops.Melody and restraint are King and Queen on this recorded effort. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Heckman Quartet / Quintet: Born To Be Blue

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Saxophonist Steve Heckman often intentionally stands in the shadow of John Coltrane, as demonstrated on With John In Mind {World City Music, 2003) and Live At Yoshi's (World City Music, 2005), but he's no Coltrane clone. Heckman has absorbed bits and pieces of many masters, so a less exuberant, matte finished take on Sonny Rollins, a fondness for Zoot Sims ("I Remember Zoot") and a hint of Coleman Hawkins merge with the Trane influence to create something all together different, yet totally traditional. Heckman's music is straight ahead, built in the image of those who came before him, but his ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Heckman: Born to be Blue

Read "Born to be Blue" reviewed by

Much is made of the influence of John Coltrane on multi-reedist Steve Heckman. His third recording, Born to be Blue finds Heckman delving deeper into the standards territory, Coltrane's residual influence showing up in Heckman's slightly raspy, dry tone, but not anything as caustic as Coltrane's take-no-prisoner timbre. This is not Heckman's pass at Ballads (Impulse!, 1963) What this recording reduces to is a very pleasant mainstream exercise performed by professionals at the top of their game. The presence of guitarist Howard Alden further promotes this session as a mainstream affair, tasteful, with little experimentation. Matt Clark ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Heckman Quartet: Live at Yoshi's

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What separates a good jazz artist from a great one? Clearly, you've got to have certain essentials to be a credible player: good time, a strong command of the language, the ability to navigate changes, and a good set of ears in order to be a responsive improviser. But to be a great player you've got transcend common denominators. It might be through innovation (pushing the boundaries of convention) or something subtler: finding new things to say within the context of already established traditions.

Saxophonist Steve Heckman is an active player in the San Francisco Bay Area who works with ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Heckman Quartet: Live at Yoshi's

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Saxophonist Steve Heckman's second album is a continuation of his pursuit of John Coltrane. The middle period referred to on these eight tracks spans the late 1950s (from recordings on Prestige and Atlantic). Having not heard Heckman's debut, this is a pleasure to listen to, among the several Coltrane homages over the past few years. Heckman is originally from Brooklyn and came from the same neighborhood as hornmen Steve Grossman, Bob Berg, and Dave Liebman. Now relocated in the San Francisco Bay area, he is currently working with four other groups, in addition to his own quartet

The ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Heckman Quartet: Live at Yoshi's

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Saxophonist Steve Heckman's debut recording, With John in Mind (World City Music, '03), referenced the classic John Coltrane sound. Live at Yoshi's blows back into the same territory in a reverent exploration of Trane Land, the Atlantic and Impulse! geographies.As a teenager, Heckman listened to A Love Supreme for two years from start to finish, every day, absorbing the then-groundbreaking, now classic spirit of the sound. His devotion is obvious fom the very first notes of the opening number, the time-tested Mal Waldron jewel, “Soul Eyes," a familiar Coltrane vehicle. Next is the Coltrane-penned “Equinox," followed by “You're ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Heckman: With John in Mind

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With John In Mind, Oakland-based multi-saxophonist Steve Heckman's debut, pays heartfelt homage to his foremost influence ' John Coltrane ' with exceptionally played originals and pair of standards. It probably wasn't a wise decision to invite comparisons to the most influential saxophonist in recent jazz history with his opening salvo, but Heckman's genuine feeling toward Coltrane's music and his obvious talents quickly erase any preconceptions.

In contrast to his primary influence, Heckman's real strength on this debut release is melodic improvisation ' and he plays it out with sparkling lyricism and a warm, confident tone whether on tenor, ...



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