The middle of the three Heath Brothers, Jimmy Heath has a distinctive sound on tenor, is a fluid player on soprano and flute, and a very talented arranger/composer whose originals include "C.T.A." and "Gingerbread Boy."
He was originally an altoist, playing with Howard McGhee during 1947-1948 and the Dizzy Gillespie big band (1949-1950). Called "Little Bird" because of the similarity in his playing to Charlie Parker, Heath switched to tenor in the early '50s. Although out of action for a few years due to "personal problems," Heath wrote for Chet Baker and Art Blakey during 1956-1957. Back in action in 1959, he worked with Miles Davis briefly that year, in addition to Kenny Dorham and Gil Evans, and started a string of impressive recordings for Riverside.
In the 1960s, Heath frequently teamed up with Milt Jackson and Art Farmer, and he also worked as an educator and a freelance...