Jimmy Heath On World Cafe

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14 min 16 sec
 
Jimmy Heath i i

At age 83, saxophonist Jimmy Heath has released his latest album, Endurance. Photo courtesy of artist hide caption

itoggle caption Photo courtesy of artist
Jimmy Heath

At age 83, saxophonist Jimmy Heath has released his latest album, Endurance.

Photo courtesy of artist

Now 83 years old, saxophonist Jimmy Heath comes to World Cafe fresh from the release of his latest album, aptly titled Endurance.

Songs Heard In The Interview

"East St Louis Toodle-Oo" from Duke Ellington's The Okeh Ellington

"Mas Que Nada" from Dizzy Gillespie's Swing Low, Sweet Cadillac

"Miles' Mode" from John Coltrane's Legacy

Back in 1948, a young Heath enthusiastically displayed his talent at the First International Jazz Festival in Paris, making his mark as an up and coming jazz musician.

Before long, he had joined forces with John Coltrane in Dizzy Gillepsie's orchestra. Earning the nickname "Little Bird," Heath also worked with popular jazz standouts including Charlie Parker, Benny Golson and Nelson Boyd.

By the early 50s, Heath had moved from alto to tenor sax and began recording with the Miles Davis All Stars and other hard bop groups. It wasn't until 1978 that he formed the famous Heath Brothers trio with his brothers Percy and Albert. Over the course of his long and successful career, Jimmy Heath has appeared on more than 100 records and has written more than 125 jazz compositions, plus seven suites.

Since the 1980s, Heath has worked primarily as a professor at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College CUNY. Still, he continues to record and tour. His latest album, Endurance, on which he collaborates with brother Albert Heath, not only demonstrates his own passion and longevity — he is 83 years old! — but also the endurance of his warmly soulful bop.

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