I Walked With Giants: The Autobiography of Jimmy Heath

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I Walked With Giants: The Autobiography of Jimmy Heath

Format:  Hardcover,

322 pages

Publisher: Temple Univ Pr

Publish Date: Jan 2010

ISBN-13: 9781439901984

ISBN-10: 1439901988

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Book Information

The following content was provided by the publisher.
Composer of more than 100 jazz pieces, three-time Grammy nominee, and performer on more than 125 albums, saxophonist Jimmy Heath has earned a place of honor in the history of jazz. In this extraordinary autobiography, the legendary Heath creates a "dialogue" with musicians and family members. By turns funny, poignant, and extremely candid, Heath's story captures the rhythms of a life in jazz.

Specifications

:
Publisher: Temple Univ Pr
Publish Date: Jan 2010
ISBN-13: 9781439901984
ISBN-10: 1439901988
Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 322
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 1.3
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 6.25 x 9.0 x 1.25

Chapter outline

Foreword: In the Basement
Acknowledgments
Introduction
First Chorus (1926-1949)
Finding a Rhythm: Philadelphia and Wilmington, North Carolina
Big Band Connections
Organizing and Melodizing
Second Chorus (1949-1969)
High Note-Low Note: Dizzy and Miles
Sharp Dissonance to Smooth Harmony with Mona
On the Riverside
Maintaining the Groove
Third Chorus (1969-1986)
Stretching Out: Jazz Transitions
Marchin' On: The Heath Brothers
For the Public": The Heath Brothers
Fourth Chorus (1986-)
Reharmonization: Queens College
Up-Tempo Mode
Aroma of the Roses
Endless Stroll
Appendixes
Unique Names
Honors and Awards
Selected Discography
Compositions
Chronology
Index

Reviews

Review by Library Journal (2009-11-01)

Heath, with McLaren (English, Hofstra Univ.; Langston Hughes: Folk Dramatist in the Protest Tradition, 1921-1943), tells a life story that is inspiring and thoroughly enjoyable. Rising up through the big band era, absorbing the ideas of the beboppers in the mid-1940's, and continuing to embrace changes in jazz from the 1960s through the 1990's, Heath has produced sought-after compositions and arrangements and, as a teacher, has shared his love of the principles of jazz with thousands of students.

Now an elder statesman who remains active, he writes of how his supportive family life allowed him to succeed. His parents let him and many other musicians practice at their home, and they were steadfast even after he developed a taste for heroin in the 1950's. Beyond Heath's storytelling, the book is interwoven with comments from a number of acquaintances (mostly musicians), which helps keep the narrative moving.

Verdict: This is an entirely engaging and thoughtful autobiography from one of jazz's true treasures. This richly told saga is highly recommended.

-William G. Kenz, Minnesota State Univ., Moorhead

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book description

Composer of more than 100 jazz pieces, three-time Grammy nominee, and performer on more than 125 albums, Jimmy Heath earned a place of honor in the history of jazz. Over his long career, Heath knew many jazz giants such as Charlie Parker and played with other innovators, including John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and especially Dizzy Gillespie. Heath also won their respect and friendship.

In this extraordinary autobiography, The legendary Heath creates a "dialogue" with musicians and family members. As in jazz, where improvisation by one performer prompts another to riff on the same theme, I Walked with Giants juxtaposes Heath's account of his life and career with recollections from jazz giants about life on the road and making music on the world's stages. His memories of playing with his equally legendary brothers Percy and Albert (aka "Tootie") dovetail with their recollections.

Heath reminisces about a South Philadelphia home filled with music and a close-knit family that hosted musicians performing in the city's then thriving jazz scene. Milt Jackson recalls, "I went to their house for dinner...Jimmy's father put Charlie Parker records on and told everybody that we had to be quiet till dinner because he had Bird on.... When I [went] to Philly, I'd always go to their house".

Today Heath performs, composes, and works as a music educator and arranger. By turns funny, poignant, and extremely candid, Heath's story captures the rhythms of a life in jazz.

Jimmy Heath is widely recognized as one of the greats in jazz. A saxophonist, composer, arranger, and educator, Heath grew up in Philadelphia with his renowned brothers, Percy, The longtime bassist with the Modern Jazz Quartet, and Albert "Tootie", a highly respected drummer. The three formed the Heath Brothers Band in the 70s. Jimmy Heath directed the Jazz Studies master's degree program in performance at Queens College (CUNY).

Joseph McLaren is Professor of English at Hofstra University And The author of Langston Hughes: Folk Dramatist in the Protest Tradition, 1921-1943, and editor of several additional titles.

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