The word “dynasty” carries a heavy claim, but there is no other term to describe the Heath Brothers, a jazz dynasty with deep Wilmington roots. They formed their first band here and learned to read music at Williston High School. Percy, the eldest of the three, was the bass player in the Modern Jazz Quartet. The middle brother, Jimmy, played thrilling tenor sax, some said on a Coltrane level (one of the people saying that was Miles Davis). The youngest brother, Albert “Tootie” Heath, took up the drums, and under his brothers’ tutelage, he became world-class on his own merits.
Now the Tootie Heath Trio is coming to Wilmington. Tootie himself, the last surviving member of the dynasty, will be joined onstage by two blazingly good musicians, Emmet Cohen (pianist) and Russell Hall (bassist). This is both a celebration and a homecoming. It’s not often you can walk into a performance hall and know that you are about to witness history.
This event is co-sponsored by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, UNCW Dept. of Music, WHQR Public Radio, the Third Person Project, UNCW Equity Institute, the Arts Council of Wilmington, and the North Carolina Jazz Festival.