Jimmy Heath

Jimmy Heath ( born October 25, 1926 in Philadelphia as James Edward Heath, nicknamed Little Bird) is an American jazz saxophonist, flautist, composer and arranger.

Life and work

Heath was a member of the 1945-46 Nat Towles band. He then returned to Philadelphia, where he was active as a composer and arranger for the first time, including John Coltrane and Benny Golson. Members of one of his first big bands were John Coltrane, Benny Golson, Specs Wright, Cal Massey, Johnny Coles, Ray Bryant, and Nelson Boyd.

In 1948 he undertook with his brother Percy Heath and Howard McGhee a European tour, after which he and his brother a member of the big band of Dizzy Gillespie. In the early 1950s he toured with Miles Davis, JJ Johnson, Milt Jackson and Kenny Clarke. In 1961 he participated in Elmo Hope Album Homecoming! with, at the end of 1969 Kawaida under the direction of his brother " Tootie ".

In the 1970s he founded with his brothers Percy and Tootie the legendary band The Heath Brothers. He worked on over a hundred albums, including seven with the Heath Brothers and twelve as a band leader and wrote over a hundred compositions, which, inter alia, by musicians like Art Farmer, Cannonball Adderley, Clark Terry, Chet Baker, Miles Davis, James Moody, Milt Jackson, Ahmad Jamal, Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie, JJ Johnson and Dexter Gordon were listed.

In addition to jazz music Heath also composed seven suites and two string quartets. In 1998, Maurice Peress listed below at Queens College be symphonic work Three Ears. In 2011 he published his autobiography, I Walked With Giants (Temple University Press), which he had written with Joseph McLaren.


1980, 1994 and 1995, he was nominated for a Grammy Award, and in 2003 he was honored for his life's work with the Jazz Masters Fellowship of the state NEA Foundation. 2011 Heath was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Jazz Journalists Association


  • The Thumper, 1959
  • Really Big! , 1960
  • The Quota, 1961
  • Triple Threat, 1962
  • Fast Company, 1963
  • Swamp Seed, 1963
  • On the Trail, 1964
  • The Gap Sealer 1972
  • Jimmy, 1972
  • Love and Understanding, 1973
  • Time and the Place, 1974
  • Picture of Heath, 1975
  • Marchin ' On, 1975
  • In Motion, 1979
  • New Picture, 1985
  • Peer Pleasure, 1987
  • Little Man, Big Band, 1992
  • You've Changed, 1994
  • You or Me, 1995