Percy Heath

Decades: 2000s


30 April 1923, Wilmington, North Carolina, USA, d. 28 April 2005, Southampton, New York, USA. Growing up in Philadelphia, bass player Heath first played locally before moving to New York with his brother Jimmy Heath to join Howard McGhee in 1947. During the next few years he played with many leading exponents of bebop, including Miles Davis, J.J. Johnson, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker and Thelonious Monk. In 1951 he became a member of a quartet led by Milt Jackson, which subsequently changed its name to the Modern Jazz Quartet. He played in this group for over 20 years, then in 1975 formed the Heath Brothers band with Jimmy and other brother Al ‘Tootie’ Heath. Heath retained his connection with the Modern Jazz Quartet into the 80s, when they re-formed, and also worked throughout this period with the Heath Brothers band (who reunited for a 1997 recording session on Concord Jazz). A leading bebop player, Heath occasionally experimented...

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