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PREVIEW: THE HEATH BROTHERS TO CELEBRATE JAZZ AND LIFE AT THE KENNEDY CENTER IN WASHINGTON, D.C. OCTOBER 29 & 30, 2016! by LARRY RENI THOMAS
(Published: October 12, 2016)

You can expect many smiles, non-stop laughter and splendidly good times, when both of the Heath Brothers, saxophone legend Jimmy, 89, and his "baby brother" veteran drummer extraordinaire Albert "Tootie", 81, perform at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, October 29 and October 30, 2016. The two days of big fun begins Saturday night, October 29, at Kennedy Center's The KC Jazz Club, Terrence Gallery, when Albert "Tootie" Heath is scheduled to perform in "The Whole Truth" with three other drummers, Louis Hayes, Sylvia Cuenca and Joe Saylor.

"It's a group and a concept that has been in existence for years," said Al "Tootie" Heath, during a recent interview from his Santa Fe, New Mexico home. "We were recently in New York and have performed at various other places. It's something different. All drums. It challenges the audience to listen to something unique and what some might call out of the ordinary. I am looking forward to being in DC."

Tootie, who recently had serious health issues, and a near-death experience about a year ago, is very fortunate to be performing at all. He suffered a heart attack and a stroke and was in an intensive care unit in an Albuquerque, New Mexico hospital for weeks. Heath survived, re-habituated himself, and started playing the drums as soon as possible.

"It was not quite my time to check out," he said. "I started working as soon as I could. One of my first gigs was with my brother Jimmy and Jon Batiste and The Stay Human Band on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (CBS-TV), April (2016). I had a wonderful time. I felt good to be back behind the drums again."

Since then, Tootie had been working steady. This spring, he was in New Orleans. A few weeks ago, he was back in his former home of California touring with a piano trio at venues on the California coast. He said he was definitely looking forward to his upcoming concerts with his brother Jimmy, who will be 90-years-old, October 25, 2016.

"Jimmy is my hero," said Tootie. "He is a legend who should be honored because he has endured. For 90 years! That's a big big deal!"

On Sunday evening, October 30, 2016, Tootie will be performing with Jimmy in a program presented by the Kennedy Center called "Jimmy Heath At 90." It will feature Jimmy Heath, his big band plus special guests Stanley Cowell, Tony Purrone, Herbie Hancock, John Lee, Roberta Gambarini, and others. It will be one of the several "90th" birthday events honoring the saxophonist/educator/composer who has performed with almost all of greats, including John Coltrane, who was in Jimmy's big band in Philadelphia in the late 1940s, and Miles Davis, whom Jimmy performed and recorded with in 1959.

"My name is Jimmy Heath, Not Jimmy Rushing! What's the rush!" said Jimmy Heath, during a October, 11, 2016, interview from his Queens, New York home. " I haven't made ninety yet. I was born on the 25th. It hasn't gotten here yet. I have attended at least three 90th celebrations in the past week. I just left Germany and they did two over there. Queens College, where I am professor emeritus, presented one this past weekend. The Blue Note did one in March. I am going to another one on the 15th at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Then there is a program scheduled for the Lincoln Center, here in New York. It will be presenting a two day event, on October 21 and 22, called ‘Life Of A Legend." What's the rush!"

"But, seriously, I am honored and humbled," said Jimmy. "When I think about the fact that most of my friends, like Dizzy, Miles and Coltrane, are no longer on the scene and I am still here that has to mean something to me and a lot of other folks. That means I am a survivor. So, I am definitely looking forward to the celebration at the Kennedy Center, in Washington, D.C, because, God willing, I will really be 90-years old at that time. It should be quite an evening. Members of my family will be there. My daughter, Roslyn and her family, is coming up from Atlanta and my son, Mtume, and his family, who live in New Jersey, plan to be there. I am looking forward to an exciting evening and to seeing many of my dear D.C. area friends and fans."

For more information about the Heath Brothers' appearances at Kennedy Center, call: (202) 467-4600 or (800) 444-1324 or go to: www.kennedy-center.org.

More Information: http://www.kennedy-center.org


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