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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Heckman Quintet: Search for Peace

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Saxophonist Steve Heckman's Search For Peace serves as something of a companion piece to his previous album--Born To Be Blue (Jazzed Media, 2013). Both albums feature the same band, present (mostly) familiar material, and walk pleasingly straightforward paths. So what's different? Well, for starters, Matt Clark played piano on Heckman's last date, but he's taken to the Hammond B-3 here. Then there's Heckman's choice of horns. The man-in-charge played clarinet, bass clarinet, alto saxophone and tenor saxophone on Born To Be Blue; here, he favors his tenor and dusts off his baritone saxophone for a pair of performances. Finally, there's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Heckman Quintet: Search for Peace

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Steve Heckman is a meat 'n potatoes saxophonist whose previous recording, Born to be Blue (Jazzed Media, 2013) was a trip through the heart of the jazz mainstream, circa 1960 (with better sonics). Heckman follows Born to be Blue with a right turn into hard bop atop of an organ-guitar quartet. For the present recording, Heckman employs his same band as Born to be Blue with Matt Clark switching to the Hammond B-3. The result is a low-calorie funk-fest sans the grease. Crisp and clean, Search for Peace swings with a relaxed but intent momentum and contains ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

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 ...



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