Jimmy Heath's considerable talents are very evident on this fine hard bop title. His supple, Dexter Gordon-inspired tenor work shines throughout the album's seven tracks, which range from the challenging yet fleet originals "Funny Time" and "The Quota" to attractive covers like "When Sunny Gets Blue" and Milt Jackson's "Bells and Horns." Heath also mixes it up stylistically with elements of both East Coast jazz (Philly native, vigorous ensemble work) and West Coast jazz (spry, vaporous arrangements), showing his flexibility amidst the music's healthy, bi-coastal rivalry of the late-'50s and early-'60s California stars Art Pepper and Chet Baker would cover several Heath numbers on their excellent 1956 collaboration Playboys. The Quota also benefits from stellar solo contributions by trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, French horn player Julius Watkins, and pianist Cedar Walton; brothers Percy and Albert Heath handle the bass and drums chores admirably, and they make a family reunion of it. The Quota's strong material, tight arrangements, and thoughtful solos help make this Heath title one of the better hard bop releases available and a must for any jazz collection.
The Quota Review
by Stephen Cook