JAZZ CORNER Presents: Albert Heath, Ethan Iverson & Ben Street – Philadelphia Beat (2015)
I know, it’s been awhile since I sat down with you cool cats and kitten … this afternoon Philadelphia Beat is playing in the background, sounding like a fresh opened can, a crazy quilt of musical choices that in less achieved hands would come off disjointed, angular, and a bit of a sham to say the least.
But never fear, Albert Heath, Ethan Iverson, and Ben Street roll through Philadelphia and down Broad Street without hitting a single light, yet leaving a musical traffic jam behind them, as people are dancing in the streets with what these cats are laying down. I can’t imagine that it was an easy choice to pick this handful of recording that illustrate and feature Heath’s ability … drawing from the hat compositions by Bach, Eubie Blake, Monk, Yusef Lateef, and just for good measure, stepping completely outside the box with “I Will Survive,” a disco classic; all with no original material on this outing. Meaning that stylistically these songs are all over the map, yet they hang together, are laced up tight, flowing effortlessly and emotionally, and coming across like snippets or samples, when in fact the music is just so into an adventurous groove that you will barely be aware that one track is leading into the next completely different composition.
While the trio don’t swing for the stars, they do manage to provide ample room to stretch out, finding a comfort zone that’s steady, unrelenting, and a sheer joy to set your ears to listening to.
Easy, effortless and lovely …
– Jenell Kesler
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