Tony Purrone

In the Heath Zone

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Tony Purrone's second release as a leader is devoted entirely to the music of his mentor and longtime employer, tenor sax legend Jimmy Heath. Expanding his group from a trio to a quartet this time around, Purrone is joined by bassist Lyn Christie, drummer Keith Copeland, and saxophonist Nick Brignola. The album draws well-deserved attention to Heath's rhythmically advanced compositions and, having played them all with the man himself, Purrone brings an insider's perspective. Brignola switches between baritone, alto, and soprano, while Purrone harnesses his stunning technique in the service of these ten compelling, varied post-bop vehicles. The most ambitious are "Mellowdrama," a funky, minor-key construction with a striking and difficult bridge, "Bro' Slim," with its perpetually changing tempo, and the rousing finale "The 13th House," named for its series of parallel 13th chords. (To change the pace, Purrone plays the ballad "Ineffable" as a trio feature.) On the whole, it's not quite as personal a statement as the previous Set 'Em Up, but still a fine example of Purrone's guitar artistry.

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