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Little Man Big Band

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Album Review

Bill Cosby produced Little Man Big Band to give journeyman composer and saxophonist Jimmy Heath a larger palette for his work. Most known for his work with small ensembles, especially the Heath Brothers with siblings Percy Heath on bass and Tootie Heath on drums, Jimmy Heath brings to life his compositions, including his greatest hits "CTA" and "Gingerbread Boy," with blaring, upper register trumpets, punchy trombone countermelodies and swirling saxophone ensembles. He is an able practitioner of big band orchestration, concentrating largely on using the band to frame soloists, most prominently himself. The concerto-like pieces "The Voice of the Saxophone" and "Ellington's Stray Horn" are the most adventurous structurally. The band — made up mostly of members of American Jazz Orchestra — is stocked with ace sessionmen who execute the charts with aplomb. That's evident on the twisting melodic variations on the opener and "Gingerbread Boy." While Heath is the featured soloist, Roland Hanna gets a chance to show both as a soloist and as an accompanist why he was in a class with Basie and Ellington as a big band pianist. Guitarist Tony Purrone, a regular with the Heath Brothers, and most of the trumpet section provide complementary solo voices.


Born: 25 October 1926 in Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

The middle of the three Heath Brothers, Jimmy Heath has a distinctive sound on tenor, is a fluid player on soprano and flute, and a very talented arranger/composer whose originals include "C.T.A." and "Gingerbread Boy." He was originally an altoist, playing with Howard McGhee during 1947-1948 and the Dizzy Gillespie big band (1949-1950). Called "Little Bird" because of the similarity in his playing to Charlie Parker, Heath switched to tenor in the early '50s. Although out of action for a few years...
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Top Albums and Songs by Jimmy Heath

Little Man Big Band, Jimmy Heath
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  • 105,00 kr
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Hard Bop, Big Band
  • Released: 01 January 1992

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