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Greg Heath

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Reviews of Greg Heath

 

01/06/2009 DUNCAN HEINING Jazz UK

2009 Debut Release Fact & Fiction comes recommended by Jazz UK as one to buy with confidence “…there’s a strong Coltrane-circa-1961 influence here and as well as Heath’s fire-starting tenor the CD captures pianist John Donaldson at his most eloquent” DUNCAN HEINING – Jazz UK

 

09/08/0009 Bruce Lindsay - allaboutjazz.com

Tenor saxophonist Greg Heath originates from New Zealand, but has been based in the United Kingdom since 1989, working with a diverse array of artists including Van Morrison, Marianne Faithful and Jimmy Ruffin. Fact & Fiction finds Heath in more straight-ahead jazz territory, with strong early-'60s influences and a talented quartet of musicians. Indeed, the quartet's line up of Heath with John Donaldson on piano, Nick Kacal on double-bass and Lawrence Lowe on drums is reflective of those influences and fits well with Heath's compositional style.

The CD, co-produced by Heath and Kacal, features five tunes, all written by Heath. Unsurprisingly, the tenor is the preeminent instrument on the album, but the compositions also give ample opportunity for the other musicians to stretch out. The opening "No Time to Reason" is particularly evocative of early-'60s quartet playing; an up-tempo tune driven by Lowe's percussion and featuring some impressive tenor work and a beautifully crisp piano solo from Donaldson. By contrast, "Webb" takes a smoother approach, reminiscent of 1970s cop show themes, while "The Comfort Zone" has a slightly harder edge to it, illustrated by Donaldson's excellent solo, which sees him playing more aggressively than he does on the other tunes. Kacal's bass playing is impressive, his solos on "Webb" and "The Comfort Zone" both skillful and involving; but for most of the album the bass seems to be too far back in the mix to allow it the emphasis it deserves: an unusual situation given that Kacal co-produced the session.

Fact & Fiction doesn't break any boundaries, nor does it try to. It's an enjoyable collection of tunes played by a talented quartet, and it also shows Heath's potential as a leader and composer. Hopefully there will be more to come: Heath can be proud of this release, but next time a few more risks might be in order.

 

01/08/0009 SELWYN HARRIS - Jazzwise

Born in New Zealand, this tough tenor saxophonist has been resident in the UK since 1989. Although he's just one more saxophonist on the endless conveyor belt of post-Coltrane modernists, Heath has adrive and sonic intensity that encourages further listening. He's partnered by veteran pianist John Donaldson, McCoy to Heath's Trane, a consumamate sideman who can swing with the best of them. But the Coltrane edginess is offset by a more audience-friendly side to Heath's playing on this not overly long set of originals, favouring the softer focus of R&B jazz sax. Having studied in Sydney in the 1980s under the tutelage of James Morrison and Don Burrows, Heath came here to work midway through the decade finding a career as a session musician working with artists such as Van Morrison, Joan Armatrading, Marianne Faithfull And Omar. While The Jazz Here is idiomatically-slavish and hardly in the moment, It's still undeniably well executed and listenable.

 

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