When saxophonist Tim Hegarty headed for the studio in late August 2013, he probably knew he was going to come away with a pretty solid keepsake. With the piano bench reserved for Kenny Barron, upright bass duties handled by Rufus Reid and the drums finessed by Carl Allen, it would have been astounding had things not turned out swinging.
These first-call players - not to mention educators to a large percentage of the tri-state area's jazz undergraduates - are certainly the big draw on this set, and vibraphonist and co-producer Mark Sherman is no slouch either. So how does the saxophonist with the extremely long ponytail fare with this group? Just fine.
Hegarty has respectfully compiled this set in honor of his mentors, which includes a lot of saxophonists. Over ten tunes, he tackles the works of George Coleman, Joe Henderson, Frank Foster and, most prominently, Jimmy Heath.
Reid opens the proceedings by laying down a foundation for Heath's "A New Blue," returning later in the tune for a subdued solo. Foster's bluesy waltz "Simone" is treated to a soul-satisfying rumble with Hegarty breathlessly taunting his horn from top to bottom.
On Hegarty's original tune "Low Profile," Barron and the saxophonist engage in an all-too-brief duet on the melody, while Henderson's "Inner Urge" gets a brisk reading to close out the album with Allen's assured cymbal work propelling the ensemble. Hegarty agreeably proves himself with a rich and swinging mood throughout the set, seizing the opportunity to shine over his stellar accompaniment.