Jimmy Heath: “I Walked with Giants”


Last month as part of the 2nd annual Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival, the great NEA Jazz Master Jimmy Heath was on hand to perform with the Whit Williams Quintet. His performance once again showed how there’s nothing quite like veteran mastery. Jimmy’s relaxed brand of swinging brought a fire to that bandstand no matter what the tempo. The next afternoon I had an opportunity to interview Jimmy on the subject of his very revealing and rewarding autobiography I Walked with Giants — and when Jimmy Heath says that you’d better believe him. The man grew up musically in Philadelphia alongside boyhood pals John Coltrane and Benny Golson, was one of his great friend Miles Davis‘ saxophonists and composers of choice, worked alongside Clifford Brown (billed as “Cliff Brown” in an old news clip Jimmy laid on me from a long ago gig at Peps in Philly) and Lee Morgan, and has graced countless bandstands — including alongside his brothers Percy on bass and Albert “Tootie” Heath on drums, both masters in their own right.

The Jazz Video Guy, Bret Primack, swooped down from Planet Bret to capture our interview — and untold other valuable festival footage over the course of the weekend — and has been running it on his YouTube channel. 

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