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Jimmy Heath

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Biography

The middle of the three Heath Brothers, Jimmy Heath 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." and "Gingerbread Boy." He was originally an altoist, playing with Howard McGhee during 1947-1948 and the Dizzy Gillespie big band (1949-1950). Called "Little Bird" because of the similarity in his playing to Charlie Parker, Heath switched to tenor in the early '50s. Although out of action for a few years due to "personal problems," Heath wrote for Chet Baker and Art Blakey during 1956-1957. Back in action in 1959, he worked with Miles Davis briefly that year, in addition to Kenny Dorham and Gil Evans, and started a string of impressive recordings for Riverside. In the 1960s, Heath frequently teamed up with 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. In addition to his earlier Riverside dates, Jimmy Heath has recorded as a leader for Cobblestone, Muse, Xanadu, Landmark, and Verve. ~ Scott Yanow
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