Written by Patrick Jarenwattananon from WBGO-FM
The drummer Albert “Tootie” Heath, 77, has certainly played thousands of gigs like this one, where he’s hired to casually execute brilliantly from the extended songbook of jazz standards. After all, he played on John Coltrane’s first album as a leader, and with every other name in hard bop from the late 1950s onward. In contrast, the pianist Ethan Iverson’s career currently revolves around touring with The Bad Plus, a band whose repertoire almost entirely omits common-practice jazz. But away from the main unit, he makes it a point to play the classics with his musical elders. Bassist Ben Street always provides an able pivot: He has already been asked to play in five other sets for the Live at the Village Vanguard series (including a date with Iverson in the Billy Hart Quartet).
The promise of a week at New York’s Village Vanguard with the latter two fellows lured Heath from his Southern California base. One recording of this unit, Live at Smalls, was made in late 2009; here comes another. WBGO and NPR Music present a live radio broadcast and online video webcast of Ethan Iverson, Ben Street and Tootie Heath live at the Village Vanguard at 9 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Aug. 22.
with special guest host Matt Wilson.