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Jimmy Heath Big Band: Togetherness

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This album comes from two nights in 2011 at the Blue Note in Greenwich Village, on the occasion of Jimmy Heath’s 85th birthday. There is nothing groundbreaking here. The eight tunes (four by Heath) and the charts (all by Heath) are dead center in the modern big-band mainstream. Togetherness is not an exploration but a celebration, an immersion in the life-affirming exuberance and butt-kicking energy that only a big jazz band can generate. It must have been a fun party.

From his large portfolio of compositions, Heath chose four rowdy numbers that are lesser known but suited to a birthday bash. “A Sound for Sore Ears” is a brassy, blaring opening greeting. “Togetherness” charges straight on, like a train. “A Time and a Place” is nasty, nice funk. If there was any dancing on the tables at the Blue Note, it would have been during “A Sassy Samba,” because of its irresistible throb.

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