Jimmy Heath embodies the history of jazz. In his 60 years on the jazz scene, the saxophone great has appeared on more than 125 records as both a composer and player. Heath grew up in Philadelphia alongside brothers Percy and Tootie, both renowned jazz players in their own right. He has played with trumpeter Howard McGhee; Dizzy Gillespie’s sextet and big band; the Miles Davis Quintet; Art Farmer, Cannonball Adderley, Chet Baker, James Moody, Clark Terry, and others.
In 1975, he formed the Heath Brothers with Percy and Tootie and pianist Stanley Cowell. In this group, Heath played tenor saxophone and soprano saxophone as well as flute. The group’s Live at the Public Theatre was nominated for a GRAMMY Award in 1980. Since then, Heath has performed and recorded as the leader of his own quartet and alongside Slide Hampton, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Joe Henderson, Sonny Rollins, Wynton Marsalis, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, and many others.
In 1993, he performed as part of the inaugural celebration for President Clinton at the White House Jazz Festival. In 1994, he was the recipient of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Maria Fisher Founder’s Award. Heath’s composition such as “CTA” and “Gingerbread Boy” are jazz standards that have been recorded by Miles Davis, Lee Morgan, and Chick Corea, among others. In 2003, Heath received an NEA Jazz Masters Award and in 2004 he received his third honorary doctorate. An active jazz educator, Heath has taught many of today’s successful, up-and-coming jazz musicians. He spent 11 years as Professor of Music at Queens College and currently presents workshops and clinics around the world. His most recent release is a Heath Brothers recording titled Endurance.
Jimmy Heath and his brother Tootie will be playing at the Village Vanguard through July 15th as The Heath Brothers, with the able assist of Jeb Patton on piano and David Wong on bass. Jimmy also directs the Queens Jazz Orchestra. Look for their upcoming concerts!
Jimmy’s autobiography, I WALKED WITH GIANTS, is also available HERE.