- Cheryl Washington, Princess Gadson, Kevin Goins – Contributing Writers/Editors
- Angelo Ellerbee – President/Founder, Double XXposure Media Relations
Jimmy Heath pictured here with then-young son, James Mtume
Both Philadelphia PA born
The legacy continues with departed jazz legend, saxophonist Jimmy Heath. Long been recognized as a brilliant instrumentalist and a magnificent composer and arranger, Jimmy is the middle brother of the legendary Heath Brothers (Percy Heath/bass and Tootie Heath/drums), and the father of James Mtume. Heath performed with many jazz greats – one of his earliest big bands included John Coltrane, Benny Golson, Specs Wright, Cal Massey, Johnny Coles, Ray Bryant, Nelson Boyd, Charlie Parker and Max Roach. During his career, Jimmy Heath had written over 125 compositions and performed on more than 100 record albums including seven with The Heath Brothers and twelve as a leader.
THE HEATH BROTHERS
Left to right – Percy, Jimmy & Albert Heath. All Philadelphia PA-based.
The legacy continues with the Heath Brothers. Jimmy, Percy, and Tootie Heath teamed up in 1975 to form the Heath Brothers. Up until then, bassist Percy had been busy with the Modern Jazz Quartet, but with the group in “retirement” (temporarily as it turned out), all three brothers were free to join forces. Originally a quartet with pianist Stanley Cowell but expanding after the addition of guitarist Tony Purrone and Jimmy’s son, James Mtume, on percussion, the band recorded for Strata East (1975), four albums for Columbia, and two for Island. Tootie Heath left the group early on and was replaced by Akira Tana, although he came back for one more recording.
Faulu Mtume (right) with James Mtume. Faulu born & raised in Newark NJ
The legacy continues with Faulu Mtume, son of the late James Mtume. Since his youth, Faulu worked alongside his father on business matters related to Mtume’s music – compositions and recordings. Currently, Faulu oversees the music publishing and licensing concerns related to Mtume’s extensive catalog, which has been sampled by hip-hop and R&B artists for many decades.
IFE RODRIGUEZ (South Orange NJ)
The legacy continues with Ife Rodriguez, the daughter of the late James Mtume. Ms. Rodriquez is the president of the Mtume Foundation, an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose role is to sustain, expand, and protect the legacy of James Mtume by supporting the development of arts activities and education in marginalized communities.
James Mtume (South Orange NJ resident)
The legacy continues with Grammy award-winning producer, composer, percussionist, bandleader, radio talk show personality, and social activist, James Mtume. Born James Forman, before acquiring the Mtume moniker through his association with U.S. Organization, a Black nationalist group, the prolific tour-de-force, revolutionized the musical landscape of commercial and progressive jazz, funk, R&B, and soul that continues to be sampled today. From his Philadelphia, PA roots to his final transition just last year in South Orange, NJ, the biological son of saxophonist Jimmy Heath, amassed a career high that knew no boundaries. Even before his meteoric rise to musical success, Mtume achieved athletic prominence as a champion swimmer but more importantly, he amplified his voice politically and socially as a true “messenger” for ‘the people.’ Mtume was even credited with the celebration of the first Kwanzaa in 1966. But it was his passion for music that drove him to lead his own Mtume band with singer Tawatha Agee and bassist Ray Jackson, and play as a sideman for jazz greats McCoy Tyner, Freddie Hubbard, Miles Davis, Gato Barbieri, Lonnie Liston Smith, Uncle Albert Heath, and father Jimmy Heath. Moreover, Mtume’s collaboration with Reggie Lucas yielded some of the greatest hits of all time from stellar artists including Stephanie Mills with “Never Knew Love Like This Before,” Phyllis Hyman, ”You Know How To Love Me,” and Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway’s classic duet, “The Closer I Get To You.” But most notable in Mtume’s repertoire of chart-topping hits is “Juicy Fruit,” which was not only certified platinum but cemented his place and reputation in iconic musical history.
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