Jazz drummer Albert “Tootie” Heath has died

Albert “Tootie” Heath (May 31st, 1935 – April 3rd, 2024) The drummer and 2021 NEA Jazz Master, was the last surviving member of a legendary jazz family (with older brothers bassist Percy and saxophonist Jimmy and nephew percussionist James Mtume), leading albums in the ‘70s for O’Be and Muse, then in the ‘10s for Sunnyside, having shared dates with his brothers since the ‘70s on Columbia, Antilles and Concord and sideman credits since the late ‘50s with John Coltrane, J.J. Johnson, Nina Simone, Cannonball and Nat Adderley, Mal Waldron, Johnny Griffin, Billy Taylor, Benny Green, Wes Montgomery, Art Farmer, Jimmy Heath, Clifford Jordan, Mel Rhyne, Walter Benton, René Thomas, Johnny Lytle, Sonny Red, Bobby Timmons, Les Spann, Benny Golson, Blue Mitchell, Charlie Mariano, McCoy Tyner, Coleman Hawkins, Ray Brown, Milt Jackson, Ronnie Mathews, Friedrich Gulda, Kenny Dorham, George Russell, New York Jazz Sextet, Charles McPherson, James Moody, Guido Manusardi, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland Big Band, Ben Webster, Tete Montoliu, Herbie Hancock, Yusef Lateef, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, Cedar Walton, Cecil Payne, Anthony Braxton, Kenny Drew, Don Patterson, Kenny Barron, Earl and Carl Grubbs, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen/Sam Jones, Ronnie Cuber, Ted Curson, Harold Land, Stanley Cowell, Bubi Chen, Warne Marsh, Indra Lesmana, Bud Shank, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Joe Pass, Michel Sardaby, Eddie Harris, Milcho Leviev, Riverside Reunion Band, Claude Williamson, John Capobianco, Roscoe Mitchell, George Cables, Dave Pike, Dena DeRose, Wesla Whitfield, Tomas Franck, Theo Croker, Ethan Iverson, Tomas Janzon, Roberto Magris, Richard Sears, Greg Skaff and others. Heath died April 3rd at 88.


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Andrey Henkin is a writer based in Queens, whose work has appeared in StereophileWeJazzThe New York City Jazz RecordCODASignal to NoiseJazz.RU and accompanying numerous albums. He maintains the jazz obituary website JazzPassings.com.

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