The seven sides that make up the all-star outing Picture of Heath (1961) might be familiar to fans of co-leads Chet Baker (trumpet) or Art Pepper (alto saxophone), as Playboys (1956). Perhaps owing to trademark-related issues with the men's magazine of the same name, Picture of Heath became the moniker placed on the 1961 Pacific Jazz vinyl re-release, as well as the 1989 compact disc. Regardless of the designation on the label, the contents gather selections recorded on October 31, 1956 – the third encounter between Baker and Pepper.
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.
Unlike some of his other Riverside recordings, the accent on this Jimmy Heath CD reissue is very much on his tenor playing (rather than his arrangements). Heath is in excellent form with a quintet that also includes pianist Wynton Kelly, guitarist Kenny Burrell, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath. The instantly recognizable hard bop saxophonist performs four standards and three of his own compositions, including the original versions of "Gingerbread Boy" and "Project S." It's a good example of his playing talents.
Digipak edition of this 1972 album from the Jazz great featuring five bonus tracks taken from the album Love And Understanding (1973). Although Jimmy Heath released an album per year between 1959 and 1964, he would undergo an eight-year recording hiatus as a leader before returning to the studios in 1972. This CD contains the first album Heath recorded after his break. The tracks have a cohesive group sound and showcase the individuality and force of Jimmy's compositions coupled with his instrumental brilliance as a flautist and soprano and tenor saxophonist.