All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

9

Steve Heckman Quintet: Search for Peace

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
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, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, Michael Brecker, Sonny Stitt, Hank Mobley, Jerry Bergonzi and George Coleman. While there are times when Heckman sounds a bit like each of them, at the end of the day he sounds like Steve Heckman, which, as it turns out, is the nicest compliment that could be paid (as Pharoah Sanders once said of Heckman, "This cat can play!")

Yes, he can. And on Search for Peace Heckman is surrounded by others who can do the same: guitarist Howard Alden, organist Matt Clark, bassist Marcus Shelby and drummer Akira Tana. This is an excellent quintet whose members are perceptive soloists as well as congenial teammates. That helps make life easy for Heckman whose muscular tenor sets the tone on seven of nine tracks (he switches to baritone on Randy Weston's buoyant "Hi-Fly" and the haunting ballad "Autumn in New York"). On baritone, Heckman blends the full-throated sound of a Cecil Payne or Nick Brignola with the nimble phrasing of a Pepper Adams, Gary Smulyan or Ronnie Cuber.

The session opens with Blue Mitchell's sunny calypso "Fungii Mama" and closes with Coltrane's cleverly designed "Spiral." Also on the menu are guitarist Grant Green's emphatic "Grantstand," McCoy Tyner's pensive "Search for Peace," Monk's quirky "Pannonica," Sonny Clark's linear "Melody for C" and a fast-paced Heckman original, "Hangin' at Slug's." Alden solos astutely on most tracks, as does Clark, while Shelby and Tana provide a spacious comfort zone in which Heckman is able to roam freely and achieve his purpose. That purpose, of course, is to produce a sharp and engaging album, which is precisely the upshot of Search for Peace.

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

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Some Other Time/Slow Café

Some Other Time/Slow...

World City Music
2017

buy
Legacy: A Coltrane Tribute

Legacy: A Coltrane...

Jazzed Media
2016

buy
Search for Peace

Search for Peace

Jazzed Media
2014

buy
Born to be Blue

Born to be Blue

Jazzed Media
2013

buy
Live at Yoshi's

Live at Yoshi's

World City Music
2005

buy
With John in Mind

With John in Mind

World City Music
2003

buy

Related Articles

Read Drift CD/LP/Track Review
Drift
by Paul Rauch
Published: July 18, 2018
Read Journey Moments CD/LP/Track Review
Journey Moments
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: July 18, 2018
Read Moku Maluhia - Peaceful Island CD/LP/Track Review
Moku Maluhia - Peaceful Island
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 18, 2018
Read Night Concert CD/LP/Track Review
Night Concert
by Chris Mosey
Published: July 18, 2018
Read Rumah Batu CD/LP/Track Review
Rumah Batu
by Ian Patterson
Published: July 17, 2018
Read The Bat Swings! CD/LP/Track Review
The Bat Swings!
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 17, 2018
Read "Osmosis" CD/LP/Track Review Osmosis
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 25, 2018
Read "Translator's Note" CD/LP/Track Review Translator's Note
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 3, 2017
Read "Danza Imposible" CD/LP/Track Review Danza Imposible
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 20, 2017
Read "Powell To The People" CD/LP/Track Review Powell To The People
by Jim Worsley
Published: May 16, 2018
Read "Outer Spaces" CD/LP/Track Review Outer Spaces
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 8, 2018
Read "Chapter 2" CD/LP/Track Review Chapter 2
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 1, 2018