VIDEO:Brotherly Jazz: The Heath Brothers (with Percy, must see viewing)
Audio selections from the new Heath Brothers CD, “Endurance”
Listen: "Autumn in NY"
Listen: "Dusk in the City"
The Heath Brothers—saxophonist Jimmy, drummer Albert (better
known as “Tootie”), and the late bassist Percy—are
without question one of the most influential families in jazz. As
a young bebop alto player in the 1940s, Jimmy was nicknamed “Little
Bird,” but this flattering comparison to Charlie Parker doesn’t
do justice to the innovative and unique style Jimmy has developed
during his career. Now primarily a tenor player, he has built upon
the innovations of the bebop pioneers and carried them into the modern
era with style and originality. Jimmy was named an NEA Jazz Master
in 2003. Drummer Tootie has recorded and performed
with a who’s-who of jazz giants, including John Coltrane, Wes
Montgomery, and Herbie Hancock. Recently, Tootie has
expanded the role of the jazz drummer with his unique “Whole
Drum Truth” project, in which he performs with an ensemble
made up entirely of great jazz percussionists. Although no bassist
can fill the shoes of Percy, who passed on in 2005 at age 81, David
Wong is an up-and-coming young player who has absorbed a great deal
of jazz wisdom, playing with artists like Roy Haynes and Wynton Marsalis.
With his sensitive accompaniment and swinging energy, Jeb Patton
is the Heath Brothers’ pianist of choice.