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Really Big! Original recording remastered

12 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, June 5, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This 1960 album's even bigger with the addition of a bonus track (an alternate take of Nails )! Saxman Heath leads a 10-piece orchestra with Clark Terry and the Adderley brothers among the players.

While Producer Orrin Keepnews' Riverside label is best known for a few dominant artists like Thelonious Monk and Bill Evans, it was one of the most adventurous of the great New York independent labels of the 1950s and 1960s, often breaking with the small combo format. Tenor saxophonist Jimmy Heath's tentet from 1960 is a superb example, a band combining big band drive with small group spontaneity. Armed with Heath's well-crafted, imaginative compositions, as well as Bobby Timmons' soul jazz anthem "Dat Dere" and the standard "On Green Dolphin Street," the band swings tremendously. There's a special family chemistry as well, with Heath joined by his brothers Percy on bass and Albert on drums, and altoist Cannonball Adderley and brother Nat sharing the solo space. The inspiration shows in Jimmy Heath's own playing, whether he's working through the complex harmonies of "Mona's Mood" or ricocheting off the rhythms of "Nails." --Stuart Broomer
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 5, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Riverside
  • ASIN: B000PY30JY
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #183,573 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 9, 2003
Format: Audio CD
This CD reminds me a little of the Riverside (same label) recording "Budd Johnson and the Brass Giants". It has that same small brass 'orchestra' sound and feel (plus the addition of Cannonball), and, my God, what a line-up of talent! Clark Terry, Nat adderley, Cannonball, Tommy Flanagan and Cedar Walton, not to mention the other Heath brothers holding down the rhythm section. 'Tootie' is simply smokin' on this one for his big bro'. "Big "P" comes out like a bull in a china shop. "Old Fashioned Fun" is just that - a great up-tempo blues for Heath, Cannonball, and company to groove on, and again sounds like the "Johnson" date. That is followed by a beautifully arranged ballad, "Mona's Mood" (Jimmy arranged it, as well as "Big "P", and "Old Fashioned Fun"), where Cannonball grooves ever so mellowly before Dick Berg's french horn makes a quick romantic appearance, then Cannon takes a little more before Flanagan takes his, and Jimmy gets in towards the end. As you may notice, the arrangements are the focus on this session, not always long and hard-blowing solos - though there are some. Tom McIntosh, the trombonist, arranges Bobby Timmons' "Dat Dere", and Cedar Walton tips his hat to Bobby. The brass section (again with Cannon and Heath) gets to solo in chordal arrangement near the end. "Nails" starts with another great Heath arrangement; Jimmy solos, then gives Nat and Clark a chance to 'split' the chorus before the trumpet solos. Cannonball jumps all over alternating solos with the brass section, then Walton gets his, with Albert grooving on the rim. "Tootie' gets 8 bars too, and makes the most of it, the arrangement taking it out with the Afro-Latino groove.Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By D. Allen on January 13, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I may not be an old hack who knows his jazz inside and out, but I know what I like - and I definitely like this. The editorial reviewer hit the nail on the head when he said it had big band drive and small group spontaneity. This provides the best of both worlds, and the material and performance are excellent.

Really Big! is part of the new jazz remaster series "Keepnews Collection". Orrin Keepnews produced for the Riverside and Milestone labels in the late '50s and the '60s, and he employed engineers who produced beautiful recordings. Any audiophile knows that Riverside's recordings are some of the best ever put to tape, and this remaster series does not disappoint. The Keepnews Collection is jazz and audiophile nirvana.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Transfigured Knight on January 16, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Tenor saxophonist/composer Jimmy Heath has had many outstanding recordings during his long career, but I think "Really Big!" is exactly what the title says, it's got everything that's great about Heath rolled up into one album. It shows his big band arranging and composing chops in addition to his great saxophone playing, which to the this day is underrated I think. Heath assembled a great band for this record:

Clark Terry - trumpet
Nat Adderley - cornet
Cannonball Adderely - alto saxophone
Pat Patrick - baritone saxophone
Dick Berg - french horn
Tom McIntosh - trombone
Tommy Flanagan or Cedar Walton - piano
Percy Heath - bass
Albert "Tootie" Heath - drums

I consider this recording to be an essential jazz recording. Anyone interested in big band or hearing a band playing in complete harmony, then pick up this album. Highly recommended.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Tyler Smith on March 20, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Here's a minor gem from 1960 that shows off the soloing, writing and arranging capabilities of tenor saxman Jimmy Heath, the middleman of the three great Heath brothers. Jimmy wrote five of the eight tunes on "Really Big!" and arranged them all, including fine non-originals such as Bobby Timmons' "Dat Dere" and the oft-recorded "Green Dolphin Street."
Heath is a fine player in his own right, and he doesn't hide his own tough sound on the record. But what sets "Really Big!" apart from many other recordings is the quality of the players he assembled for his small orchestra (including Clark Terry, Cannonball and Nat Adderly, Tommy Flanaganm Cedar Walton and his brothers Al and Percy) and his always tasteful and unpredictable arrangements.
Heath came of age when bebop took over, so if you think "swing" when you hear "big band" or "orchestra," discard the thought.
These are punchy arrangements that allow plenty of room for soloing, and they never lapse into mere dance music. As a great example, listen to his take on the standards "Green Dolphin Street" and "My Ideal." The former makes use of a repeated bass figure, changing rhythms from drummer Al Heath, simmering ensemble playing and cooking solos, notably from Cannonball. The latter takes things at a far easier pace, and provides plenty of space for Jimmy himself and pianist Walton. A highlight is Jimmy's sensitive solo, delivered passionately while the other horns hum along, just far enough in front to provide a chorus without intruding on his work.
Jimmy's originals all deliver something that sticks in memory, but my favorite in this session is "Old Fashioned Fun," which is just that, a bluesy romp with some unpredictable twists and turns from the orchestra, which stutter-steps through some great ensemble sections.
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