Heath, Jimmy [James Edward; Little Bird]
- Luca Cerchiari
[James Edward; Little Bird]
(b Philadelphia, Oct 25, 1926; d Loganville, GA, Jan 19, 2020). American saxophonist, flutist, composer, arranger, and educator, father of the percussionist Mtume Heath and brother of the bass player Percy Heath and the drummer Albert Heath. He was born into a musical family and was influenced by Charlie Parker on alto saxophone and by John Coltrane on tenor. During the 1940s and early 1950s he played with Howard McGhee, Dizzy Gillespie, and Miles Davis. On tenor, he developed a pleasant hard-bop style, featuring a warm timbre, neat, consequential phrasings, and an efficient rhythmical drive. After working with Kenny Dorham, in the 1960s and 1970s Heath led groups that included Art Farmer and Stanley Cowell. During the same period he worked as a sideman for many players associated with the modern mainstream style, including Ray Brown, Benny Carter, Gil Fuller, Red Garland, Milt Jackson, and Freddie Hubbard. He also recorded for Riverside, Cobblestone, Impulse, and Verve, among other labels. In ...