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James Edward Heath (born October 25, 1926 - died January 19, 2020), nicknamed Little Bird, is an American jazz tenor saxophonist, and the brother of bassist Percy Heath and drummer Tootie Heath.
He originally played alto saxophone, but after the influence of Charlie Parker on his work for Howard McGhee and Dizzy Gillespie in the late 1940s earned him the nickname Little Bird (Parker's nickname was Bird), he switched to tenor. He was out of music for several years in the 1950s, returning to work with Miles Davis in 1959, then with Kenny Dorham and Gil Evans. He also recorded extensively. During the 1960s, he frequently worked with Milt Jackson and Art Farmer. In 1975 he and his brothers formed the Heath Brothers. Tootie dropped out of the group in 1978, but Jimmy, Percy, and sidemen stayed together till 1982. Jimmy continued to work frequently following the break-up of this band. He frequently performs master classes in New York City and teaches his love for the saxophone.

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  • 25 October 1926
  • Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States Died 19 January 2020 (Aged 93)

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