Director Producer The Brothers Home page Trailer Reviews
Order DVD

Jersey Jazz
(March 2007)

BROTHERLY JAZZ –– The Heath Brothers
By Joe Lang

All of a sudden there have been several wonderful jazz documentaries coming out. Now along comes an excellent 70-minute film about an amazingly talented trio of siblings from Philadelphia, the Heath Brothers: bassist Percy Heath; composer, arranger, educator, and saxophonist Jimmy Heath; and drummer Albert “Tootie” Heath. Their story is marvelously captured on Brotherly Jazz (DanSun Productions – 102).

This film sprung from a July 2004 concert by the Heath Brothers Band given by producer Danny Scher at Coventry Grove, a 300-seat amphitheater at Scher’s home in Kensington, California. It was a benefit for Berkeley’s Jazzschool, and was being filmed by Jesse Block. Both men quickly realized the potential to develop a documentary about this remarkable jazz family, using the concert as a centerpiece of the film.

This film tells their story through vintage footage, the voices of the three brothers, and others from the world of jazz. The story is effectively interspersed with footage of the 2004 concert, with enough time devoted to the performance to permit the viewer to experience how wonderfully enjoyable this trio of talented brothers, abetted by pianist Jeb Patton, was to experience live. The narrative, which provides an informative opening section about the importance of Philadelphia in the story of jazz, effectively ties together the various components of the film. The interview clips are consistently brief, to the point, and are placed at points where they move the story along naturally and engagingly.

Jazz has had many interesting stories develop during its century or so of prominence. The history of the Heath Brothers is one that has been an integral part of the story of modern jazz and it is well related in Brotherly Jazz.