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Chico News and Review
(December 21, 2006)

Brotherly Jazz: The Heath Brothers
By Miles Jordan

Along with the Teagardens (Jack, Norma, Charlie, and “Cub”), the Dorseys (Jimmy and Tommy), the Joneses (Hank, Thad and Elvin) and the Marsalises (Branford, Wynton, and Delfeayo), the Heath Brothers (Percy, “Tootie”, and Jimmy) are among jazz’s best-known group of siblings. This fascinating 70-minute DVD explores their backgrounds and presents them in concert. Bassist Percy is undoubtedly the most famous Heath thanks to his recordings with Bird, Dizzy, Monk, and others, as well as his 40-plus years with the Modern Jazz Quartet. When MJQ broke up in 1975, he began working with his brothers, Jimmy (tenor sax) and “Tootie” (drums), and made eight records. This DVD has vintage shots of their bebop influences and then goes back and forth from the 2004 concert to interviews with such luminaries as Marian McPartland, Sonny Rollins. and Herbie Hancock. Their own insights into music are especially informative, as when Percy tells how he learned “not to bully the instrument.” My favorite moment is Percy’s solo version of “Yardbird Suite,” which he plays pizzicato on cello; he is grinning from ear to ear and obviously enjoying it as much as the audience.