The Jimmy Heath Sextet – The Thumper / Really Big!


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When Jimmy Heath returned in May 1959 after five years off the scene with personal problems, his skills and awareness of new trends were undiminished, recording as a sideman on a Blue Mitchell date and cutting his first LP as a leader for Riverside: “The Thumper”. Until then, he was recalled as the promising tenor saxophonist who had recorded in the early 1950s with Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Kenny Dorham, and J. J. Johnson, among others, and as the author of several notable originals, including 'CTA' and 'For Minors Only,' which become repertoire staples for many modern jazzmen.
Stylistically flexible as a writer, he is equally adept scoring for big bands, small or medium groups, and on “The Thumper”, he contributed five originals and all the arrangements for a fine sextet featuring himself, Wynton Kelly, Curtis Fuller and Nat Adderley.
On “Really Big!”, his second Riverside album, recorded in June 1960, Heath worked with a 10-piece band to get a big band sound and the loose feeling of a small group, writing six arrangements, with two from Tom McIntosh. A subtly swinging and inventive album resulted, graced by Heath’s charging and emotive playing, and the work of trumpeter Clark Terry. Both albums marked Heath’s artistic rebirth and triumphant return to a successful career.

Track Listing:
1. For Minors Only (Heath) - 4:52   2. Who Needs It? (Kelly) - 5:36   3. Don’t You Know I Care (Russell-Ellington) - 5:02   4. Two Tees (Heath) - 4:15   5. The Thumper (Heath) - 4:02   6. Newkeep (Heath) - 4:12   7. For All We Know (Lewis-Coots) - 4:35   8. I Can Make You Love Me (Russell-DeRose) - 3:28   9. Nice People (Heath) - 3:54   10. Big “P” (Heath) - 3:54   11. Old Fashioned Fun (Heath) - 4:34   12. Mona’s Mood (Heath) - 4:53   13. Dat Dere (Timmons) - 4:26   14. Nails (Heath) - 4:46   15. On Green Dolphin Street (Washington-Kaper) - 4:43   16. My Ideal (Chase-Robin-Whiting) - 4:10   17. The Picture of Heath (Heath) - 4:30

Tracks #1-9, from the 12-inch album "The Thumper" (Riverside RLP 1160)
Tracks #10-17, from the 12-inch album "Really Big!" (Riverside RLP 1188)

Personnel on "The Thumper":
Jimmy Heath Sextet
Nat Adderley, cornet; Curtis Fuller, trombone; Jimmy Heath, tenor sax; Wynton Kelly, piano; Paul Chambers, bass; and Albert 'Tootie' Heath, drums.
Recorded at Reeves Sound Studios, New York City, on September 1, 1959

Personnel on "Really Big!":
Jimmy Heath Orchestra
Clark Terry, trumpet; Nat Adderley, cornet; Dick Berg, French horn; Tom McIntosh, trombone; Cannonball Adderley, alto sax; Jimmy Heath, tenor sax; Pat Patrick, baritone sax; Cedar Walton or Tommy Flanagan (#10,11,15), piano; Percy Heath, bass; and Albert 'Tootie' Heath, drums.
Arrangements: Jimmy Heath and Tom McIntosh (#13,17)
Recorded at Plaza Sound Studios, New York City, June 24 & 28, 1960

Original recordings produced by Orrin Keepnews
Recording Engineer: Jack Higgins & Ray Fowler
Original cover designs: Paul Bacon / Ken Deardoff
Photography by Lawrence N. Shustack
This CD release produced by Jordi Pujol


-The Thumper

"Jimmy Heath at age 33 made his recording debut as a leader on this Riverside session [...] The hard bop tenor-saxophonist is in superior form, contributing five originals (of which "For Minors Only" is best known), jamming with an all-star sextet (including cornetist Nat Adderley, trombonist Curtis Fuller, pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath) and taking two standards as ballad features. The excellent session of late '50s straightahead jazz is uplifted above the normal level by Heath's writing."

-Really Big!

"Jimmy Heath's first chance to lead a fairly large group, an all-star ten-piece, found him well featured both on tenor and as an arranger/composer. With such colorful players as cornetist Nat Adderley, flugelhornist Clark Terry, altoist Cannonball Adderley, and either Cedar Walton or Tommy Flanagan on piano, Heath introduces a few originals (including "Big 'P'" and "A Picture of Heath") and uplifts "Green Dolphin Street," "Dat Dere," and "My Ideal," among others. A well-conceived set."

Both by Scott Yanow -All Music Guide

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