5

Steve Heckman Quintet: Search for Peace

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
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 not a few surprises. Guitarist Howard Alden is not the first guitarist that would come to mind for this repertoire, but he has been a Heckman collaborator for some time and makes the best of this established relationship. Blue Mitchell's "Fungii Mama" provides a good jumping-off point for the band to warm up in a tropically environ similar to Sonny Rollins' "St. Thomas." Drummer Arkia Tana is tight and precise, directing the rhythm of the piece and bassist Marcus Shelby's instrument is captured full-throated and true.

Grant Green's "Grantstand" provides a showcase of Alden, who takes full advantage of the spare, but swinging accompaniment. Heckman takes McCoy Tyner's "Search for Peace" and turns it into an understate ballad that is well-structured but still has ample room to move for the soloists. Heckman finds the "soft" in hard bop with his light-as-air treatment of Sonny Clark's "Melody in C." Alden again shines with a chord break before he begins his soloing proper. John Coltrane's "Spiral" is given a full workout by Heckman who often cites Coltrane as an influence, but who has never fallen completely under the spell of that tenor titan.

Search for Peace is both a proper response to the previous Born to be Blue and a sensible evolution from that point. Heckman is a durable saxophonist with plenty of chops to spare. He always has his ear on the melody.

Track Listing: Fungii Mama; Grantstand; Search for Peace; Pannonica; Hi-Fly; Hangin' at Slug's; Melody for C; Autumn in New York; Spiral.

Personnel: Steve Heckman: tenor and baritone saxophones; Howard Alden: guitar; Matt Clark: Hammond B-3 organ; Marcus Shelby: bass; Akira Tana: drums.

Title: Search for Peace | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Jazzed Media


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Kurrent CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Duets CD/LP/Track Review Duets
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Rev CD/LP/Track Review Rev
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read The Frequency Modulators Orchestra, Vol. 1 CD/LP/Track Review The Frequency Modulators Orchestra, Vol. 1
by Jim Olin
Published: October 17, 2017
Read The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren CD/LP/Track Review The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Any Other Way CD/LP/Track Review Any Other Way
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 16, 2017
Read "Alfa" CD/LP/Track Review Alfa
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 10, 2017
Read "Ignacio" CD/LP/Track Review Ignacio
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 16, 2016
Read "Clarinet (& Piano)" CD/LP/Track Review Clarinet (& Piano)
by John Eyles
Published: February 8, 2017
Read "Polygon" CD/LP/Track Review Polygon
by Pascal-Denis Lussier
Published: May 21, 2017
Read "Passin' Thru" CD/LP/Track Review Passin' Thru
by Ian Patterson
Published: July 20, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.