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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 a Weaver of Dreams," another piece covered by Heckman's major influence. The rest of the tunes, save one, are Heckman originals, steeped in the Coltrane tradition, with "Theosphere"a Thelonious Monk tribute, that features Heckman sopranosounding playful and lighthearted.
Live at Yoshi's showcases Steve Heckman's amazing Coltrane chops in a very reverent tribute. His band has, of course, a different personality from Coltrane's classic unit. Pianist Matt Clark displays a lighter touch than McCoy Tyner's, and Karen Horner's bass plays a more prominent role than Jimmy Garrison's. But the quartet uses a high-energy fluidity to create a mood similar to the classic sixties music to which it pays a vibrant and loving tribute.