Jimmy Heath Day

October 25, 1926 – January 19, 2020


All Blues

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Saxophonist, composer, arranger, educator and big band leader James Heath was born on October 25, 1926 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Jimmy is the brother of bassist Percy and drummer Albert.

As a young man, he was known as “Little Bird” for his alto prowess. He had his own band in the 40s which included John Coltrane, Benny Golson, and Ray Bryant as members.

In 1949, he joined Dizzy’s big band and switched to tenor.

In 1975, he and his illustrious brothers and Stanley Cowell formed the Heath Brothers.

In the 1980, he joined the world of formal education, eventually becoming a professor and the founder of the Jazz Program at Queens College in the City of New York.

“All Blues” is a 1959 jazz track from Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue.” On tenor sax is Jimmy Heath himself, who played with Davis during the composer’s lifetime. Davis claimed Heath was his favorite tenor saxophonist.

Heath was, Davis added, “a very hip dude to be with, funny and clean and very intelligent. Jimmy is one of the thoroughbreds.”

But Heath’s storied collaborations weren’t limited to playing with Davis. Over five decades he has performed with other greats, such as Dizzy Gillespie, Wynton Marsalis, John Coltrane and Howard McGhee.

Accompanying Heath is Julian Priester, Michele Rosewoman, Don Moye and Mark Helias.


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