Percy Heath

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Percy Heath (* thirtieth April 1923 in Wilmington , North Carolina ; † 28. April 2005 in Southampton , New York ) was an American jazz - double bass player .

Percy Heath; 1977

Live and act

Growing up in Philadelphia , Percy first learned the violin and played the violin in the school orchestra until he found his ideal instrument in the bass. After serving with the US Air Force, he began studying music at the Granoff School of Music. In 1947 he went to New York City with Howard McGhee's band with his brother, composer and saxophonist Jimmy Heath . But he also worked with other protagonists of modern jazz, such as Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk , Miles Davis , JJ Johnson , Sonny Rollins and Fats Navarro .

From 1950 to 1952 Percy Heath was bassist in Dizzy Gillespie's sextet . He then founded the Modern Jazz Quartet with three friends from the Milt Jackson Quartet , which was to gain international renown through numerous appearances over four decades. In addition to Milt Jackson (vibraphone), his partners were John Aaron Lewis (piano) and Kenny Clarke (drums), all from the group around Gillespie. In 1955 he worked on the prestige album Miles Davis and Milt Jackson Quintet / Sextet , with which his long-term collaboration with Miles Davis ended. In 1961 he worked on Elmo Hope's album Homecoming! With.

In 1975 he founded the formation The Heath Brothers with his brothers Jimmy and Albert "Tootie" Heath ( drums ) . He also worked with Sarah Vaughan and has been involved in a large number of productions for the Prestige and Blue Note labels .

Percy Heath died of bone cancer shortly before his 82nd birthday . On November 7, 2003 he performed with his brothers ( The Night of the Brothers ) and the Petrocca Brothers at the sixth JazzNight in Baden-Baden .

In 2002 he received the Jazz Masters Fellowship from the state NEA Foundation .

Web links

Commons : Percy Heath  - collection of images, videos and audio files


Percy Heath has been involved in more than 200 recordings during his career. Here is a selection: