Just heard about Percy Heath...RIP

Discussion in 'Bassists [DB]' started by Aaron Saunders, Apr 28, 2005.

  1. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    I was cruising the AAJ forums and saw that apparently Percy Heath died. A quick google search and a search of the BBC site didn't reveal anything about it at all, though...can anyone confirm this?
  2. dylanjohnson

    dylanjohnson Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2002
    Morro Bay, CA
    According to wkcr fm, Percy passed this morning, as well as Jimmy Woode, Ellington bassist, yesterday. :crying:

  3. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    i cannot find anything about this..
  4. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    It's true, just got a forwarded Email from John Clayton. Rats. What a coupla weeks for jazz bassists.
  5. Yeah, I got Johns mail too. Percy was getting up there. Anyone know his age?
    Now Percy was a favorite bassist of many of our greatest players. Pianists, in particular, just loved his time playing.
    Bill Evans was a member of Percy's fan club.
    Yeah Marcus, the list is growing.
    He's leaving behind his magnificent Ruggeri bass.
  6. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
  7. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    As I'm reading this, the Bill Evans quintets disc 1 is on the turntable, with Percy Heath on bass... this blues, Interplay is a great tune and Percy's time is really impecable. Big loss...
  8. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    My God it's been a bad stretch these last few weeks...
  9. bassgeek


    Oct 19, 2000
    Asheville, NC
    Just heard the blurb on WBGO. A day shy of his 82nd Birthday. What a career! He was one of the famous Tuskeegee Airmen, also.

    I went to college in Wilmington, North Carolina where Percy was born. (The family moved to Philadelphia shortly thereafter). A few years back someone opened a jazz/blues club in Wilmington in his honor, named "Percy's". He came down for the grand opening.

    My personal Percy faves are the Evans album, "Interplay" mentioned earlier, and the Miles' Bags Groove album. But Percy kills on eveything! I'm glad I got to see him several times.
  10. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    My God, NHOP, Percy, and Jimmy Woode..............what is happening?????????????????

    I'm thankful that I saw Percy play once at the Bird festivals in Thompkins square park, with Bags and all of the Heaths.....Great player! and "Watergate Blues", what a great tune of his!

    The MJQ must be jammin' their asses off in heaven now.........
  11. Davehenning


    Aug 9, 2001
    Los Angeles



    gonna go put on bag's groove.....
  12. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    This is very sad news.
  13. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Bah... more sad news. :(

    Funny, I was just looking at his photo in some jazz photo book a coupla days ago and thinking that he's pretty old and remembering what had just happened with NHOP, hoping that he wouldn't go soon. Ahh well, at least he's not fighting that bone cancer anymore.
  14. It's a drag to lose Percy, BUT what a life. To be able to live to a ripe old age, having your two brothers on top with you all those years, traveling around the world with a fabulous bass of the quality that many of us have never had the luck to even get a chance to play. Being part of one of the most long-lived, successful groups in the history of jazz.
    Percy also had a hand in the beginnings of the Be-Bop era..spending all those years on 52nd St. with the inventors of the genre...Miles, Bird, Diz, Horace...you name them!
    Percy never wasted a minute of his life, that's for sure.
  15. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    There was a special running on PBS for awhile about the fire and subsequent EXACT reconstruction of Dick Cavett's house (which was an historically significant house) out east on Lawn Guyland. At the end of the show, there's a house party celebrating the Cavett's moving back in and who's at the party? Percy and his wife.

    In an interview, Percy was asked what his greatest pleasures in life were and he responded "the three F's". The interviewer was perplexed, so Percy said " the first two are fiddlin' and fishin'."

    Yes, Percy had a long and full life. It's sad more because of my loss, than his, if you will...
  16. I will.
  17. Davehenning


    Aug 9, 2001
    Los Angeles
    Percy lived not too far from my parent's place on the island. He was REALLY big into fishing.

    There was a great article in the NY times on him a few years back. It had a great shot of him on his boston whaler with fishing tackle ready to go...

    and there was a party held for him down the street from my folks place about two years ago...... i was on the road and could not make it. Damn was i mad! Never got to meet him. a huge regret for me.

    just hope he is in a better place.
  18. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I was fortunate enough to meet and get to hang with Percy last year when the Heath Brothers played a concert here at the U. What a sweet man, and what a bunch of great stories he had to tell. He also delivered a hilarious moment after the master class the Heath bros. gave...I was carrying his beautiful bass to the elevator while we were headed to the stage to set up for the concert. Standing by the elevator was an attractive young lady he had met earlier in the day upon his arrival. He smiled at her and said, "How you doin'?" She kind of blushed and said, "I'm fine, thank you", to which Percy replied, "Well anybody with eyes can see that. How are you doing?" I almost dropped his bass I was laughing so hard....

    RIP, and say hi to Niels for the rest of us.

    Attached Files:

  19. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    He was one of those guys that, when you see a pic of him, you can actually hear his sound in your mind. And a beautiful sound it is, too. I still love the bassline from "Walkin' Stomp" by MJQ.
  20. Great pic Durrl.
    I sometimes get a little bugged at people who, when going to a concert or club, insist on saying: " i'm goin' to see such and such tonight" totally ignoring the fact that they're actually going to hear such and such. Well, every time I used to attend a performance of the MJQ, I always meant not only to hear, but to see them as well. They all looked so cool and classy....always tuxedos. Percy always kind of moved his jaw around when he played....I don't know how to explain, but just the visual aspect of the experience was fun.
    Years later, I had the honor of working with the great Milt Jackson for a week or so, and that was a great experience!