Queens College will celebrate the life, music, and legacy of Jimmy Heath in a concert at the school’s LeFrak Concert Hall on May 21. The late saxophonist, composer, and educator founded the college’s Master of Music in Jazz Studies program in 1984 and taught there for more than 20 years. Proceeds from the concert will benefit the Jimmy Heath Scholarship Endowment Fund.
Under the direction of Heath’s protégé and Jazz Studies professor Antonio Hart, the concert will feature the Queens College Ensemble, as well as an all-star collection of jazz players, including Hart, Mark Gross, Diego Urcola, Jon Faddis, Lew Tabackin, Emmet Cohen, Gary Smulyan, Robin Eubanks, Steve Davis, Evan Sherman, and many others. Michael Mossman, David Berkman, and Dennis Mackrel—all professors at the program—will also perform, along with several students from the program.
In addition, the day before, on May 20, James Edward Heath Way will be unveiled at 114th Street and 34th Avenue in Corona, N.Y., a part of the New York City borough where Heath lived for much of his life. Heath served as a board member of the Louis Armstrong House Museum in the same neighborhood and supported that institution for many years.
“This is a wonderful tribute to an iconic musician, composer, educator and mentor,” said Queens College President Frank H. Wu in a press release received at JazzTimes. “The college derives enormous pride from Jimmy Heath’s longstanding association with our renowned Aaron Copland School of Music. He rendered outstanding service as a professor and founder of its Jazz Department and served as the guiding force behind the development of its master’s program curriculum. We joyfully join with his family, friends and all New Yorkers in celebrating Jimmy Heath’s dynamic music, wonderful life and enduring legacy. His cultural and educational contributions will continue to thrive through the establishment of the Jimmy Heath Scholarship Fund at Queens College to help support students in their quest to become a part of the next generation of great musical artists.”
For more information about these events celebrating Jimmy Heath, visit the school’s website.