Jimmy Heath finds his own voice

Now, a Jazz Moment...

MUSIC: "Gingerbread Boy" CD: Little Man Big Band Verve 314 513 956-2 (cut 7)

Establishing your own voice in jazz is a process all musicians must undertake. FOR NEA Jazz Master Jimmy Heath, this struggle led him to actually switch instruments in order to gain more individuality. Early in his career, he traded in his alto for a tenor saxophone.

MUSIC: up for punctuation

Jimmy Heath: I was playing so much of Charlie Parker's licks -- all that
I could -- and people were calling me "Little Bird," after Charlie Parker.
And I said, "Well, maybe, if I played a tenor, I could play these same licks,
and I wouldn't be called, "Little Bird" all the time. I would be called Jimmy
Heath!" (laughs) I still play Bird's music, because changing an instrument
doesn't change your concept. And it's still bebop on the tenor saxophone.

MUSIC: same - up and fades under

This Jazz Moment with tenor saxophonist Jimmy Heath was created by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Jimmy Heath finds his own voice