Saxophonist Jimmy Heath, drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath, and the late bassist/cellist Percy Heath were jazz family long before the Marsalis clan. Separately, the sum of their music making covers the totality of modern jazz - Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Clifford Brown, Horace Silver, Art Blakey, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, the Modern Jazz Quartet. I could go on and on, but enough already! Together, the Heath Brothers were a cohesive jazz combo that brought their collective experience to the stage to form their own brand of brotherly jazz.
WBGO has recorded a number of Heath Brothers performances. They include a beautiful recording from New Jersey Performing Arts Center's Prudential Hall, as well as a club date at Iridium. And that's just during my seven year tenure at the station! In 1984, WBGO recorded The Heath Brothers on New Year's Eve. December 31, 1984 at Sweet Basil in New York. The pianist was Stanley Cowell.
PS While you're still here, watch this clip from Danny Sherr's award-winning video about the siblings, Brotherly Jazz.
I've been going to see more and more music these days, much to the detriment of my need for sleep. Tuesday evening, I decided to check out the Lee Konitz Trio with very special guest, Danilo Perez. The early set, anyway. I know my limitations.
Lee Konitz, at 80, is still making some amazing music. And as much as I get tired of hearing jazz repertory, I never tire of hearing Konitz play standards. Four songs in one set, three of which I recognized. All of which I enjoyed. Konitz has this way of never really playing the melody outright. Instead, he basically smashed the loaf into bread crumbs, and sprinkles them over the course of a 15 minute group improvisation. It takes a while to find it. And by the time you DO find it, you realize that the treasure is not at the end of the trail. It was the crumbs!
Kinda like that whole idea of jazz being more of a how than a what.
Tuesday night, the group (Konitz on alto sax, Danilo on piano, Rufus Reid on bass, and Matt Wilson on drums) played a strange, intermittent funk under "Stella by Starlight," then a less than foolish nod to people time - "I'll remember April." During the last song, I kept wondering if I was hearing a version of Thelonious Monk's "Bemsha Swing..." I wasn't. I was hearing the band play Bob Haggart's "What's New?"
If you want to find the answer to that question - what's new? - follow the bread crumbs to Jazz Standard. This band beats creative loafing any day.
This is another up-and-coming artist that I'm really excited about. Jaleel Shaw is one of the most talented and interesting young players that has come along in the latest wave of young lions. I first met Jaleel around 2002 - he was a finalist in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition that year as well. I was completely blown away by this cat. This year, he is a recipient of the ASCAP Foundation Young Jazz Composer Award, along with another great young talent, Kendrick Scott.
Oh, and Happy Birthday too!
There's some serious talent on the stage tonight.
Trio da Paz are Romero Lubambo on guitar, Nilson Matta on bass, and Duduka da Fonseca on percussion. They are some of the best Brazilian jazz musicians on the scene. When you want samba, bossa nova, and other native Brazilian styles fused with jazz improvisation, these are your go-to guys. Singers Pamela Driggs and Maucha Adnet will each join the trio for a song before midnight.
Kenny Barron is a certifiable jazz master, for sure (it's time for the NEA to recognize this). He's played with Dizzy Gillespie, Jim Hall, Freddie Hubbard, Stan Getz and a slew of other great musicians. His work in Gillespie's 1960s Quintet with James Moody is outstanding. The final records with Getz are worth having, especially People Time, the sax and piano duets. The duet recording with bassist Charlie Haden, Night and the City, is a not-so-distant classic. Kenny Barron was also a part of Sphere, the Thelonious Monk tribute group that became its own thing.
Did I mention that he taught music at Rutgers University in Newark for 27 years? I'll leave the rest out for you to discover. There's plenty more.
Kenny Barron and his wife used to go to the Union Square Greenmarket on Saturday mornings. At noon, they'd visit a nearby café for Brazilian food and a great trio. Kenny was digging Romero Lubambo on guitar, Nilson Matta on bass, and Duduka da Fonseca on drums. aka Trio da Paz. In 2002, these four recorded a CD together. It's called Canta Brasil.
Kenny Barron and Trio da Paz have a lot of chemistry. Stay tuned.