The great American jazz saxophonist Jimmy Heath has died, aged 93. Heath recorded and performed with so many legendary names – Miles Davis, John Coltrane – he built lasting relationships as a sideman and collaborator with the likes of Milt Jackson, Art Farmer and Kenny Dorham among others. And he was a leader for well over a dozen records.
The other important, enduring, endearing set of records he made was with his brothers Percy and Albert – as The Heath Brothers Jimmy (saxophone), Percy (bass) and Albert “Tootie” (drums) released at least ten albums together.
From be-bop to big-band and back again Jimmy Heath was not just a great player but an arranger and, perhaps most importantly, a composer. Check your record collection, you absolutely have songs written by him on those albums you love. You likely have several featuring his performances too.
His love of Charlie Parker combined with his relatively short stature resulted in the nickname “Little Bird”.
For a full eulogy click here.
R.I.P. Jimmy Heath