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Jimmy Heath’s Final Album Is Coming in July

Love Letter features an all-star lineup including Kenny Barron, Russell Malone, Lewis Nash, Wynton Marsalis, Gregory Porter, and Cécile McLorin Salvant

Cover of Jimmy Heath album Love Letter
Cover of Jimmy Heath album Love Letter

Jimmy Heath, the legendary saxophonist, composer, and NEA Jazz Master, passed away in January three months after his 93rd birthday. He did not, however, depart without a final statement. Love Letter was recorded in October and November 2019 and will be released July 17 by Verve Records.

The capstone of a nearly 80-year career (which began when Heath was 17), Love Letter will stand as the saxophonist’s only all-ballad album. It features three lesser-known Heath originals as well as five jazz standards, on which he is supported by a remarkable ensemble that includes pianist Kenny Barron, guitarist Russell Malone, vibraphonist Monte Croft, bassist David Wong, and drummer Lewis Nash. Guests include trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and vocalists Gregory Porter and Cécile McLorin Salvant.

The full track list for Love Letter is as follows:

  1. Ballad from Upper Neighbors Suite
  2. Left Alone (with Cécile McLorin Salvant)
  3. Inside Your Head
  4. La Mesha (with Wynton Marsalis)
  5. Don’t Misunderstand (with Gregory Porter)
  6. Con Alma
  7. Fashion or Passion
  8. Don’t Explain

The album’s first single, “Con Alma,” made its debut on June 12 and is available for streaming and download on multiple platforms. Love Letter will be available July 17 and can be pre-ordered here.

Jimmy Heath discusses highlights of his discography in a 2017 JazzTimes feature.