Jimmy Heath Honored by Usdan Center August 3

Tenor saxophonist, composer, conductor and educator Jimmy Heath, whom Miles Davis called “One of the thoroughbreds, ” will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award on Wednesday August 3 from Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, America’s premier summer arts day camp, at their 2005 Gala in Huntington, Long Island.

A frequent guest teacher at Usdan Center since the late 1980’s, he joins fellow guest teacher Dr. Billy Taylor, a previous honoree, in receiving the award. In addition, a Distinguished Alumni Award was presented in 2003 to jazz singer Jane Monheit. Other Lifetime Achievement Award winners include Academy Award-winning actress Ellen Burstyn, opera star and President of the Harlem School of the Arts Betty Allen and philanthropist Mrs. Avery Fisher.

The jazz program at Usdan Center began in 1986, Chaired by Dr. Billy Taylor. Guest teachers have also included Marian McPartland, Jon Faddis, Clark Terry and the noted jazz educator Justin Di Cioccio (Assistant Dean of the Jazz Division at Manhattan School of Music). Now led by John Leddy, the program features complete musical instruction and performance experience by three jazz ensembles covering grades 4 to 12.

Dizzy Gillespie said “All I can say is, if you know Jimmy Heath, you know Bop.” The 78 year-old saxophonist, the middle brother of the legendary Heath Brothers (Percy Heath/bass and Tootie Heath/drums), has performed with nearly all the jazz greats of the last 50 years, from Gillespie and Miles Davis to Wynton Marsalis. One of Heath’s earliest big bands (1947-1948) in Philadelphia included John Coltrane and Benny Golson, and Charlie Parker and Max Roach sat in on one occasion.

Jimmy Heath has performed on more than 100 record albums, and has also written more than 125 compositions, many of which have become jazz standards and have been recorded by other artists including Art Farmer, Cannonball Adderley, Clark Terry, Chet Baker, Miles Davis, James Moody, Milt Jackson, Ahmad Jamal, Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie J.J Johnson and Dexter Gordon. He has won over 50 awards, including Grammy nominations, honorary doctorates, and jazz society and community honors and tributes (including a Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra 75th Birthday Tribute). In 2001 he was declared an American Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts. He continues to perform and to conduct workshops throughout the world.

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