Monday, September 14, 2009

Jimmy Heath ... still bopping at 83

From Jimmy heath at Somerville Jazz Festival, Sept. 13, 2009
Didn't have a chance to get to Saturday's drizzled JazzFeast in Princeton, but Sunday's inaugural Somerville Jazz Festival was great. Gretchen Parlato gave a solid setting, capping her performance with a Stevie Wonder tune which gave her accompanists a chance to stretch out a bit.
After an introduction by Somerville Mayor Brian Gallagher, Jimmy Heath capped the festival with some spot-on playing. He moved easily between Calypso and post-bop rhythms, and danced and smiled for the audience while his band took solo turns.
Before playing, Heath admitted he was entering his sixth decade on jazz circuits but you may not have known that from his playing. He's slowed a bit for sure, but his tone was full and his lines were lively and melodic.
There may not words like "retirement" in jazz musicians' vocabularies, but when one can still play and have as much fun doing it as Jimmy Heath seemed to be having Sunday ... why would you?

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