Jimmy Heath 2009

In the first part of this two part interview with Marc Myers at JazzWax.com, Jimmy Heath talks about growing up in two cities, starting on the alto sax, joining Howard McGhee in 1948 and how he and his brother Percy came to the attention of Dizzy Gillespie in 1949. In Part 2, the the 82-year-old tenor saxophonist talks about Miles Davis and the niche he carved out, playing the baritone saxophone on two recordings, his admiration for trumpeter Kenny Dorham, his incarceration, and how Chet Baker wound up recording an album in 1956 that featured Jimmy’s jailhouse compositions.

From the piece:

“Jimmy’s career began in the mid-1940s, and he played with virtually every modern jazz trumpeter, including Howard McGhee, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Kenny Dorham, Lee Morgan, Art Farmer and Freddie Hubbard. Jimmy’s career was interrupted by a four-year prison sentence for narcotics possession in the mid-1950s, a period that would have destroyed most artists. Instead, Jimmy continued to compose and play during his incarceration, and he emerged determined to succeed and flourish.”

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