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 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 the final 1983 record. Although the Heath Brothers’ music was essentially hard bop, there were occasional departures into jazzy R&B on isolated selection.
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