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Jimmy Heath, Saxophonist, Composer and Arranger
Long recognized as a brilliant instrumentalist, Heath is also a magnificent composer and arranger. He has performed with nearly all the jazz greats of the last 50 years, from Howard McGhee, Dizzy Gillespie, and Miles Davis to Wynton Marsalis. For the past 30 or so years, Heath performed regularly with his brothers, Percy and Albert, as the Heath Brothers, a band that often included contributions from his son Mtume, a noted percussionist, composer, and rhythm-and-blues producer.
During his career, Heath has performed on more than 100 albums. He has written more than 125 compositions, many of which have become jazz standards and have been recorded by artists such as Art Farmer, Cannonball Adderley, Clark Terry, Chet Baker, Miles Davis, James Moody, Milt Jackson, Ahmad Jamal, Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie, J.J. Johnson, and Dexter Gordon. Heath has also composed extended works, premiering his first symphonic work "Three Ears" in 1988 at Queens College (CUNY) with Maurice Peress conducting.
Heath retired from the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College in 1998, where he served as a Professor of Music for more than 11 years. Still, he maintains an extensive performance schedule and continues to conduct workshops and clinics throughout the United States, Europe, and Canada. He holds honorary degrees from Sojourner-Douglass College and the Juilliard School, and has a chair endowed in his name at Queens College. Currently, he serves on the board of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.
In January 2010, his long-awaited life story, I Walked With Giants, was published by Temple University Press.