Q and A

These are questions submitted by readers, and answered by Tom Hull.

To ask your own question, please use this form.

August 31, 2020

[Q] May I suggest Jimmy Heath as a topic for more research? You don't seem to have covered many of his sessions. And you could always throw in some Heath Brothers releases though they don't hold as much interest for me.

Also am surprised that your ratings for Wayne Shorter's early work excepting Night Dreamer don't rate an A of any sort. Just sayin'. Thanks -- Tom Viti, Westwood, MA [2020-08-22]

[A] I only had two Heath's first two albums in the database: The Thumper, which I probably bought in the 1990s and found too bebop at the time, and Really Big!, which I got a reissue of when I was writing Recycled Goods and liked a lot. I looked through what I could find, and wrote them up here. I thought I had a copy of Little Man Big Band (1992), but couldn't find it, even to stream. Given his early focus on arranging, big bands were a natural extension, but I found myself liking his basic quartets best, even though he's never spectacular. His brothers were first-rate roll players, and Percy's only album as a leader (A Love Song) is a delight.

I'm reluctant to go back and revisit the ones I've heard, although there's a good chance that The Thumper belongs in one of the B+ tranches. Same with Shorter, although a revisit to Adam's Apple raised the grade significantly (but not quite to A-). Instead, I made an effort to listen to the records I had missed (same link as above), finding good stuff early and some pretty awful albums during and after his Weather Report period -- a band I have little respect for, but their 3-CD box (Forecast: Tomorrow) did eke out a B+(**). He returned to form with the quartet he formed around 2000, although I haven't liked his attempts to expand on the quartet (Alegria, and especially the highly praised Emanon). I did give his 2-CD The Classic Blue Note Recordings an A, but as I'm writing this I'm playing his earlier Blue Note compilation, The Best of Wayne Shorter, and I'm not blown away.