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Steve Heckman Quintet: Search for Peace

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Steve Heckman says he was inspired to play the tenor saxophone after hearing John Coltrane, especially Coltrane's A Love Supreme. Luckily, Heckman did not follow his mentor completely off the deep end but remained instead true to his bop-bred roots while developing a singular voice of his own on the tenor. On Search for Peace (a title Coltrane would no doubt have endorsed), San Francisco-based Heckman's fourth album as leader, Trane's impact is never far away but has been tempered by Heckman's experience and exposure to a number of other exemplars including (but not limited to) Joe Henderson, Wayne Shorter, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Heckman Quintet: Search for Peace

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Saxophonist Steve Heckman has been dishing up rock solid mainstream jazz in the quartet and quintet settings since 2003's For John (World City Music), a tribute disc to the legendary saxophonist John Coltrane. That debut and his two subsequent offerings, Live at Yoshi's (World City Music, 2005) and Born to Be Blue (Jazzed Media, 2013), held in common Matt Clark in the piano chair. This time around, with Search For Peace, Heckman once again employs Clark, with the keyboard man switching to Hammond B-3 organ. The B-3 takes the group sound off from the mainstream route into the ...

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

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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 ...



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