101

Percy Heath: A Love Song

By

Sign in to view read count
Percy Heath: A Love Song As remarkable as it may seem that this Love Song is the debut release as a leader by 80 year-old elder statesman bassman Percy Heath, it was certainly well worth the wait. Heath, who has been the quintessential supportive sideman on more than 300 recordings, most notably as a member of the Modern Jazz Quartet, steps into the spotlight here, ably assisted by his regular rhythm section mates from the Heath Brothers band, pianist Jeb Patton and drummer, brother Albert “Tootie” Heath and aided by the very capable swinging bassist Peter Washington, who unselfishly fills the position usually manned by the leader, allowing him to step out front as bass soloist and cellist.

The date also highlights Heath’s unheralded skill as a composer, beginning with his solo cello rendition of the title track, a pretty, lyrical melody with words we’ll have to wait to hear. The bassist’s “Watergate Blues,” a Heath Brothers feature since the early days of the fall of Nixon, is heard here for the first time with the added luxury of bass accompaniment, allowing him to swing the funky ditty even harder than usual on cello.

“Django,” a dedication to the famous gypsy guitarist by MJQ pianist John Lewis, was long a highlight of that group’s concerts, a showcase for Heath’s big beautiful bass sound. Here he once again demonstrates his incredible facility on the instrument, in both arco and pizzicato sections on the familiar classic. The date’s other main soloist, pianist Jeb Patton, demonstrates the depth of his maturity on “Century Rag,” a modern exposition of the classic form composed by his mentor, the late Sir Roland Hanna.

“No More Weary Blues” is another composition by the leader, previously recorded by the Heath Brothers. The composer states his happy melody on cello, before switching to bass for some exciting interaction with Washington, further instigated by Tootie’s New Orleans-tinged drumming. “Suite for Pop” (not to be confused with Thad Jones’ “Suite for Pops”) is the CD’s centerpiece, an ambitious four part opus by the bassist, dedicated to the memory of his father, recorded here in its entirety for the first time.

The piece organically moves through its sections beginning as a remorseful dirge and ending as a joyous swinging celebration of life. The date finishes with another dedication, Patton’s moving “Hanna’s Mood,” in memory of his teacher. Heath, who has been lauded for 60 years for his exemplary good-humored, tasteful performances as a sideman in the service of swing, successfully brings those qualities to the fore on this album, showing that great jazz can be both sophisticated and serious fun.


Track Listing: 1. A Love Song (Heath) - 3:17 2. Watergate Blues (Heath) - 3:25 3. Django (Lewis) - 6:27 4. Century Rag (Hanna) - 5:21 5. No More Weary Blues (Heath) - 3:38 6. Suite for Pop: Prelude/Lament/Rejoice... (Heath) - 13:26 7. Hanna's Mood (Patton) - 5:22

Personnel: Percy Heath - Bass, Cello; Albert "Tootie" Heath - Percussion, Drums; Peter Washington - Bass; Jeb Patton - Piano.

Year Released: 2004 | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Charlie Parker Charlie Parker
sax, alto
Dizzy Gillespie Dizzy Gillespie
trumpet
Stan Getz Stan Getz
sax, tenor
Art Farmer Art Farmer
flugelhorn
Paul Chambers Paul Chambers
bass, acoustic
Ron Carter Ron Carter
bass
Sonny Stitt Sonny Stitt
saxophone
Johnny Griffin Johnny Griffin
sax, tenor
Ray Brown Ray Brown
bass, acoustic
Shelly Manne Shelly Manne
drums

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny" CD/LP/Track Review Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 5, 2016
Read "Up and Coming" CD/LP/Track Review Up and Coming
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 30, 2017
Read "City Of Poets" CD/LP/Track Review City Of Poets
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 3, 2016
Read "Discoveries on Tracker Action Organs" CD/LP/Track Review Discoveries on Tracker Action Organs
by John Eyles
Published: January 21, 2017
Read "Prairie Burn" CD/LP/Track Review Prairie Burn
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 9, 2016
Read "Il Dodicesimo Nano" CD/LP/Track Review Il Dodicesimo Nano
by Jim Olin
Published: January 10, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!