CD OF THE WEEK
re- JIMMY HEATH Turn Up the Heath Planet Arts ★★★★★ Saxophonist Jimmy Heath tends to be a bit overlooked as a big band writer, but as a composer and orchestrator in the swinging tradition he’s one of the best. Here, with a big band of some of New York’s finest, he shows why. Apart from one standard (I’m Glad There Is You), all the material is his. Consistently conjuring up fresh lines and variations on the basic material, Heath packs his arrangements with incident, deft voicings and exhilarating counterpoint. He has a story to tell and he tells it well, as his effective and distinctive approach to something as basic as the blues form with Big P, Gemini and Project S shows. And the propulsive momentum of each chart is compelling.
A superb rhythm section, underpinned by Peter Washington (bass) and Lewis Nash (drums) also helps, but the uncluttered writing favours the relaxed drive of a band that places feeling over clinical precision, and they respond accordingly. Striking soloists include Heath himself, Gary Smulyan (baritone), Greg Gisbert, Sean Jones, Terrell Stafford and Michael Philip Mossman (trumpets), and trombonists Slide Hampton and John Mosca. No boundaries breached, but swinging craftsmanship of a very high level. www.PlanetArts.org ard Branson built his Virgin empire on. www.cherryred.co.uk