Jimmy Cheatham, a San Diego-based jazz musician and teacher, passed away last Friday at the age of 82.
Cheatham was known as a pillar of the San Diego jazz community, having taught jazz at the University of California in San Diego for almost three decades. As a musician, Cheatham was active with his award-winning Sweet Baby Blues Band, in which he played with his wife of 47 years, Jeannie Cheatham. In the earlier days of his career, Cheatham had played with such jazz luminaries as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Thad Jones, Chico Hamilton and Ornette Coleman. Fans of Cheatham and his band include Miles Davis, with whom Cheatham shared the stage at the Chicago Jazz Festival.
Born in Birmingham, Ala., on June 18, 1924, Cheatham was a student at the New York Institute of Modern Music, as well as a protégé of jazz legend “Papa” Jo Jones. As a teacher himself, Cheatham stressed life lessons as well as a sound artistic foundation.
Cheatham had previously undergone heart surgery on Dec. 28th. He is survived by his wife Jeanette, his son Jonathan and his daughter, Shirley Wilcher. No funeral services have been planned as of this writing, but UCSD has stated that a musical send-off for Mr. Cheatham is likely to occur in the coming weeks.Originally Published