Jimmy Heath

Tenor Saxophone

Go to Jimmy's page at emusic for free MP3 downloads
Jimmy Heath (born 1926) is the middle and the most versatile of the three Heath brothers (Albert "Tootie" and Percy the others). He has a distinctive sound on tenor, is a fluid player on soprano and flute, and a very talented arranger/composer whose originals include "C.T.A.", "For minors Only" and "Gingerbread Boy." He started out as altoist, playing with Howard McGhee during 1947-1948 and the Dizzy Gillespie big band (1949-1950) and a variety of small and big bands. Often called "Little Bird" because of the similarity in his playing to Charlie Parker, Heath switched to tenor in the early '50s and continued recording with leading names such as Clifford Brown and J.J. Johnson. Although out of action for a few years due to "drug problems and a prison sentence" Heath re-emerged in the late 50s writing for Chet Baker and Art Blakey amongst others. Back in action in 1959, he worked with Miles Davis briefly that year, in addition to Benny Golson, Kenny Dorham, and Gil Evans, and started a string of impressive recordings for Riverside. His first recording under his own name "The Thumper" is particularly noteworthy; an all-star band of Nat Adderley, Curtis Fuller, Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers and brother Albert "Tootie" Heath join Jimmy on this 1959 session which has become a hard-bop classic. In the 1960s, Heath frequently teamed up with Blue Mitchell, Freddy Hubbard, Milt Jackson and Art Farmer, and he also worked as an educator and a freelance arranger. During 1975-1982, Jimmy Heath teamed up with brothers Percy and Tootie in the Heath Brothers, and since then has remained active as a saxophonist and writer.
Recommended recordings
The Thumper OJC
Really Big! Riverside/OJC
The Quota Riverside/OJC
Triple Threat Riverside
Swamp Seed Riverside
On the Trail Riverside/OJC
Time and the Place Landmark
Picture of Heath Xanadu
New Picture Landmark
You've Changed Steeple Chase
You or Me Steeple Chase
Some of the Best Contemporary Tenor Saxophonists
Joe Lovano
Chico Freeman
Wayne Shorter
Branford Marsalis
Michael Brecker
David Murray