Thursday, October 22, 2020

Gingerbread Sails In the Sunset

I'm gonna rattle off four all killer, no filler posts in a row through the weekend, that we might celebrate the 7th anniversary of this page in the correct style.

We'll kick it off with a devastating and audio-uncirculated gem to commemorate an upcoming birthday on Sunday, of someone I've been meaning to cover since he passed last January at the incredible age of 94.

He and I share a birthday, but we'll do this one on this show's anniversary so's I can do another one, of someone else, on Sunday.

He came from a musical family, with brothers who became equally as renowned as he did, and he grew up with future deities like Johnny Coles and John Coltrane in Philadelphia.

When he started in the 1940s with (yesterday's b'day guy) Dizzy Gillespie, he played alto and was compared to Charlie Parker.

Switching to tenor, he started his own, all-star Philly band. Ending that to go with Dizzy, he ended up with a heroin habit and was sent to prison from 1955-59 for dealing.

He used the time well, learning the skills of notation and arrangement so that he would emerge from jail a fully-formed composer.

Through the Sixties and into the 1970s, he saw his compositions get recorded across the idiom of Jazz, most famously his signature tune "Gingerbread Boy," which turned up on Miles Davis' ultra-seminal Miles Smiles LP and was recorded on October 25, 1966... the very day I was born.

Eventually he formed a powerhouse band with his brothers and also pianist Stanley Cowell, with whom he had a very long association that culminated with what I am sharing today.

This comes from a rarity in the arts world: a career tribute that comes while the honoree is still alive. I can think of no one more deserving of such acclaim than today's tributed titan of the tenor, Jimmy Heath.

This all-star, black-tie shindig took place four years ago tonight, as part of the Jazz At Lincoln Center program in New York City.

It was webcasted in the early morning hours immediately following the second performance, and I have plucked the audio from a tasty HD capture of the whole thing and served it up real nice (like you know you like it) for your ongoing auditory stimulation.

Jimmy Heath
Life of a Legend
Jazz at Lincoln Center
The Appel Room
Frederick P. Rose Hall
New York City, New York USA

session 1: 10.21.2016
01 Jazz At Lincoln Center introduction
02 Gary Walker introduction of Jimmy Heath
03 Yardbird Suite
04 I'm Glad There is You
05 introduction of Stanley Cowell
06 Ragtime for Eubie Blake
07 Jimmy Heath speaks to Slide Hampton
08 introduction of small group
09 New Picture
10 C.T.A.
11 introduction of Roberta Gambarini
12 Moody's Groove for Love
13 A Mother's Love
14 Life In the City
15 Gingerbread Boy & outro

session 2: 10.22.2016
01 Jazz At Lincoln Center introduction
02 Gary Walker introduction of Jimmy Heath
03 Togetherness
04 The Voice of the Saxophone
05 Gary Walker interviews Jimmy Heath
06 introduction of Stanley Cowell
07 Ragtime for Eubie Blake
08 introduction of small group
09 A Harmonic Future
10 C.T.A.
11 introduction of Roberta Gambarini
12 Without Song
13 The Thumper
14 Gemini
15 Without You, No Me & outro

Total time: 3:19:38
disc breaks go after Track 07 in set 1 and Track 07 in set 2

Jimmy Heath - tenor saxophone, arranger & conductor
Jon Faddis - trumpet
Melissa Aldana - tenor saxophone
Stanley Cowell - piano
Rufus Reid - bass
Albert "Tootie" Heath - drums
Roberta Gambarini - vocals
The Jimmy Heath Big Band:
Antonio Hart - alto and soprano saxophones
Mark Gross - alto and soprano saxophones
Bobby LaVell - tenor saxophone
Mike Lee - tenor saxophone
Frank Basile - baritone saxophone
Douglas Perviance - trombone
Luis Bonilla - trombone
Steve Davis - trombone & vocals
Ron Wilkins - trombone & vocals
Jeff Nelson - bass trombone
Frank Greene - trumpet
Michael Philip Mossman - trumpet
Greg Gisbert - trumpet
Freddie Hendrix - trumpet
Jeb Patton - piano
David Wong - bass
Evan Sherman - drums

320/44k audio extracted from the webstream telecast of this two-night 90th birthday event, 
which was apparently broadcast with the 2nd session aired first;
a few dead air spots removed by EN, October 2020

This is 3 1/2 hours of what made Jimmy Heath the foundational figure of music that he was.

He is someone I could not feel more honored with whom to share a birthday, that's for sure. He'd have been 94 at the end of the week, but it doesn't matter because as a player, composer, arranger and educator he will live forever.--J.

10.25.1926 - 1.19.2020

1 comment: