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Really BIG! JIMMY HEATH Orchestra

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Clark Terry (tp) Nat Adderley (cnt) Tom McIntosh (tb) Dick Berg (frh) Cannonball Adderley (as) Jimmy Heath (ts) Pat Patrick (bs) Tommy Flanagan (p, A-1,2 B-2) Cedar Walton (p, other five seelctions) Percy Heath (b) Albert Heath (drs)  arr: Jimmy Heath & Tom McIntosh (A-4,B-4)    

NYC; June 24 & 28, 1960


  1. Big “P” (3:53) (Jimmy Heath)

  2. Old Fashioned Fun (4:34) (Jimmy Heath)

  3. Mona’s Mood (4:53) (Jimmy Heath)

  4. Dat Dere (4:24) (Bobby Timmons)


  1. Nails (4:47) (Jimmy Heath)

  2. On Green Dolphin Street (4:42) (Washington – Kaper)

  3. My Ideal (4:10) (Chase – Robin – Whiting)

  4. The Picture of Heath (4:30) (Jimmy Heath)

   The modern jazz artist who both ‘wails’ and writes is often an unavoidably split personality: enjoying his playing in the small-group context that is the normal setting for wailing these days, but often longing for the more satisfying complexity of arranged musical colorings and backgrounds that are possible only with more large-scaled bands. On the other hand, he is apt to be aware that big-band efforts can all too easily have a stiffness and formality too far removed from the easy-flowing looseness and free-blowing spirit of the best of small-group jazz.

   Facing this basic dilemma, JIMMY HEATH, a man to be reckoned with both as improvisor and as writer, has evolved the unique solution that is at the heart of this album. It is a combination that Jimmy describes as a “a big band sound with a small-band feeling” – a richly textured musical pattern that manages to retain all the earthy ferment of a swinging quintet or sextet date.

   It should be obvious that the fresh, clear-cut style of Heath’s arrangements has much to do with the success of this idea. It should also be apparent that Jimmy’s earthy, vigorous and emotionally compelling solo sound is ideally suited to the handling of the material he has written. IN addition, Jimmy has been able to call upon some unusually able musicians to help turn his concept into reality.

   For one thing, it undoubtedly helps to be born into the right family. For the core of the rhythm section here consists of older brother Percy (one of the truly great jazz bassists and for years a bulwark of the Modern Jazz Quartet) and younger brother Albert (one of the most promising of today’s up-coming drummers and currently a mainstay of J. J. Johnson’s sextet).

   Another set of brothers adds considerably to the high level of things. Nat Adderley’s conrnet is featured in a good deal of the solo work here, while Cannonball, today’s top alto star, speaks out most effectively on Nails and On Green Dolphin Street. Clark Terry, a veteran of the Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Quincy Jones bands, has the lead-trumpet spot, and Jimmy’s ensemble writing takes consistent advantage of the remarkable teamwork that Clark and Nat are capable of. (not that the trumpet chorus on Nails is split by the two, Clark playing first; and observe also their ‘trading’- with Terry switching to fleugelhorn – on Picture of Heath.) Also to e noted is trombonist Tom McIntosh, who rounds out the scoring with chars for Bobby Timmons’s soulful Dat Dere and for Picture, a Heath composition of a few years back.

   It should e stressed that, although his basic idea is a unified one, Jimmy’s writing here is quite varied: from the deeply blues-filled Nails, Old Fashioned Fun and Big “P” (for Percy, of course) to the ballad named for his wife, Mona’s Mood – all of these being new compositions. And there are also richly melodic treatments of the standard, My Ideal, and of On Green Dolphin Street, the latter being a tune closely associated with Miles Davis, another close friend (with whom Jimmy played in the early ‘50s and again briefly in ’59).

   Jimmy Heath has been experimenting with tentette arrangements since the late ‘40s when he led such a group in his native Philadelphia. At that time he was a Parker-influenced altoist and bore the nickname of “Little Bird.” Now, it is quite safe to say, his ideas have borne fruit in a way that is certain to make a great many people aware of just how big this “Little Bird” has become.

   Jimmy’s previous Riverside album is –

The Thumper: JIMMY HEATH Sextet; with Nat Addeley, Wynton Kelly (RLP 12-314; Stereo RLP 1160)


Produced and notes written by ORRIN KEEPNEWS

Cover designed by KEN DEARDOFF

Back-liner photos by LAWRENCE N. SHUSTAK

Recording Engineer: RAY FOWLER

Recorded at Plaza Sound Studios

Mastered by JACK MATTHEWS (Components Corp.) on a HYDROFEED lathe.


235 West 46th Street New York 36, N.Y.

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