Before & After: Jimmy Heath

IMG_9105You can learn a lot about jazz hanging with Jimmy Heath. The saxophonist, arranger and bandleader has worked with nearly every important jazz musician of the post-war period, and his many compositions, including the jazz standards “Gingerbread Boy” and “C.T.A.,” are performed and recorded around the world. The Philly-born, NEA Jazz Master spent many years teaching, and he’s shared a lifetime of behind-the-scenes stories in his recent autobiography, I Walked With Giants. He is still actively playing and recording, and his latest release with his younger brother Tootie is The Heath Brothers: Endurance (JLP). This B&A was conducted in front of a live audience at the 2011 Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival.

1. James Moody

“I’m In The Mood For Love ” (from The Very Best of Prestige). Moody, alto sax; Leppe Sundwal, trumpet; Thore Swanerud, piano; Yngve Akerberg, bass; Jack Noren, drums. Recorded 1949. Continue reading

Before & After: Slide Hampton

This B&A originally appeared in JazzTimes in 2003.

Slide Hampton’s abilities and  accomplishments as a trombonist, composer, arranger and bandleader make him one of the most respected active musicians in jazz.  Born into a musical family in Jeanette, Pennsylvania, Locksley Wellington (Slide) Hampton grew up in Indianapolis where he began playing trumpet before switching to the trombone. After playing in a family band, he cut his teeth in the 1950s with Buddy Johnson, Lionel Hampton and Maynard Ferguson before forming his own octet with Freddie Hubbard, Booker Little, Julian Priester and George Coleman. The 1960s found Hampton with Dizzy Gillespie’s big band, Art Blakey, Thad Jones & Mel Lewis, Woody Herman, and serving as musical director for R&B singer Lloyd Price. In 1968, Hampton moved to Europe where he found musical challenges and steady work for nearly 10 years before returning to the U.S. in 1977. Since then, he’s worked with Continuum (dedicated to the compositions of Tadd Dameron), and led The Collective Black Artists Orchestra, The Manhattan Plaza Composer’s Orchestra, and The Jazz Masters. His still active brass group, The World of Trombones, has just released Spirit of the Horn, with special guest Bill Watrous, recorded during a 2002 live performance at Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild in Pittsburgh.   Continue reading