STEVE HECKMAN
Hard Bop / Post Bop • United States

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Steve Heckman was born in New York City. He grew up at an opportune time, getting exposed to the best jazz in the world during one of jazz's most creative periods, the mid-1960's. He began clarinet at 12, then alto and tenor sax, ultimately choosing tenor as his favorite horn. Over the years he also added soprano and baritone sax, as well as flute and alto flute. He has written 75 original jazz tunes. He is self-taught in improvisation, but thanks teachers Allen Fields, Ray Musiker and Carmine Caruso for assistance in the theoretical and technical grounding necessary to blow decent jazz.

The most significant spark to set his spirit on fire with love and enthusiasm for jazz was when, at age 15, he first heard the music of John Coltrane: Worlds split open, and he was propelled into a realm of unparallelled richness and dimension which has profoundly influenced his
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Legacy: A Coltrane TributeLegacy: A Coltrane Tribute
Jazzed Media 2016
Audio CD$7.99
$5.52 (used)
With John in MindWith John in Mind
CD Baby 2003
Audio CD$5.98
$11.00 (used)
With John in Mind by Steve Heckman (2003-12-04)With John in Mind by Steve Heckman (2003-12-04)
CD Baby
Audio CD$34.40
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STEVE HECKMAN Discography

STEVE HECKMAN albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
With John In Mind
Hard Bop 2003
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Born To Be Blue
Hard Bop 2013
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Search For Peace
Hard Bop 2014
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Steve Heckman & Matt Clark : Some Other Time / Slow Cafe
Post Bop 2017

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STEVE HECKMAN live albums

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live at Yoshi's
Hard Bop 2005
.. Album Cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Legacy: A Coltrane Tribute
Hard Bop 2016

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STEVE HECKMAN Reviews

STEVE HECKMAN Steve Heckman & Matt Clark : Some Other Time / Slow Cafe

Album · 2017 · Post Bop
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
js
The hardest group format to work in when it comes to keeping a groove, and, as they say, ‘swinging your ass off’, has to be the duo configuration. Playing solo is easier because you have no one else to match to, you can wander as far off the beat as you want and no one is going to complain, except maybe your audience. Likewise, once you get up to three or more participants, more than likely you will have a drummer keeping time, or at least a bass instrument, but when it is just the two of you, both of you need to have killer time instincts and a swingin beat in your head or the resultant train wrecks will come soon and often at that. Having said all that, on their new CD, “Some Other Time/Slow Café”, saxophonist Steve Heckman and pianist Matt Clark easily show that they are ‘those guys‘, the ones with an impeccable drummer keeping time in their hearts and minds. This is a great CD, with an excellent choice of material made up of lesser known standards plus four originals, three by Heckman and one by Clark. It says a lot about your writing ability when your own originals can blend with proven standards and not stand out in a bad way, but such is the case, especially with Heckman, whose originals are often the highlight on this album.

My only prior experience with Steve’s playing was hearing his previous Coltrane tribute. Possibly it had to do with the pressure of paying tribute to Coltrane, but Steve sounds so much more relaxed and fluid on this new album, not that there was anything wrong with his earnest take on Coltrane classics, but “Some Other Time/Slow Café” shows more variety and personal approaches than what was heard on his previous effort. Some highlights on here include the lofty ballad “Some Other Time” on which Heckman’s breathy tenor tone recalls one of his favorite influences, Lee Konitz, I also thought I heard some Coleman Hawkins on this one too. Two Heckman originals stand out, “Sheila’s Sunday Song’ on which Steve shows that he has a nice full tone on the flute, and the soulful RnB/pop of “Slow Café”. Two tracks by Duke Pearson have the duo in a hard bop/soul jazz groove with Matt walking the bass on the low end of the piano, and then there’s Monk’s “Ugly Beauty”, on which Matt shows off those signature Monk style whole tone scale runs.

Don’t expect fireworks on here, instead, this is a very unpretentious and warm jam session from two guys who really click, give this album a chance and it will grow on you. There is another plus on here and that’s the piano sound. Often times modern acoustic jazz sounds too bright and artificial, I don’t know what they did right on here, but the piano has a natural presence with just the right amount of normal room ambience and reverb, absolutely no artificial sweeteners at all. The CD cover works well too, instead of the expected urban jazz scene, you get what looks like a somewhat surreal warm quiet café in a rural winter landscape, it fit’s the music perfectly.

STEVE HECKMAN Legacy: A Coltrane Tribute

Live album · 2016 · Hard Bop
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
js
You certainly can’t accuse Steve Heckman for aiming low when he decided to call his new CD a ‘Coltrane Tribute’, that is quite a big claim to stake, and fortunately for the listener, Heckman mostly comes through on his promise of a tribute to a jazz legend. On “Legacy: A Coltrane Tribute”, Heckman covers various parts of Coltrane’s multi-faceted career, including his harmonically complex hard bop, the modal jams, some spiritual melodies and one from Coltrane’s famous ballad album too. All through this CD Heckman displays a beautiful tone that owes much to Coltrane, but is not a mere imitation. Steve is also well supported by a trio that features pianist Grant Levin, a particularly lively player who deserves wider recognition.

This CD is a live concert, and maybe the recording process was a little intimidating because the band sounds a little shy and tentative on the opening high energy numbers. On the third track, the ballad “Its Easy to Remember”, Heckman and his band find their footing and Steve hits wonderful heights with a soulful solo on which he finally starts cutting loose. Throughout the rest of the album, it seems Heckman’s strength is the meditative numbers, such as “Dear Lord” and “Reverend King”, where his playing takes on a more unfettered nature. On the more up-tempo numbers, pianist Grant Levin’s frenetic solos help push the energy level. Grant’s scatter shot, and sometimes humorous piano playing can recall off-the-wall chance takers like Jaki Byard, or a more tonal version of Matthew Shipp.

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