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Friday, August 25, 2017
“Altadena” Reprise This Weekend at the Norton Simon Museum
Pianist and composer Richard Sears is bringing his septet – and legendary jazz drummer Albert “Tootie” Heath – to the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena this Saturday, August 26, to reprise “Altadena,” a suite commissioned by the Los Angeles Jazz Society in 2013 to honor Heath.
Born on May 31, 1935 in Philadelphia, Tootie Heath was raised in a musical household as the younger brother of saxophonist Jimmy Heath and bassist Percy Heath. In pursuit of a musical career as a drummer, he moved to New York in 1957 and in a few months made his recording debut with John Coltrane for the saxophonist’s first recording “Coltrane.” Heath recorded with him again in 1960 on the album “Lush Life.”
A long-time Altadena resident, Heath’s career reads like a who’s who in jazz. He has recorded with Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, Nina Simone, Bobby Timmons, Yusef Lateef, Herbie Hancock, Milt Jackson, Wes Montgomery, Billy Taylor, Mal Waldron, Cedar Walton, J.J. Johnson and countless others.
In 1975 together with his brothers Jimmy and Percy, Tootie formed the Heath Brothers band. The band enjoyed international acclaim, toured extensively, and still performs with various bassists after Percy’s death in 2005.
Heath is now among the last of the living drummers to have performed with golden age jazz musicians, including Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, and Lester Young.
The Richard Sears septet features both Tootie Heath and renowned trumpet player Ralph Alessi. The program also includes new music composed for the occasion.
Based in Brooklyn, Sears possesses an original voice as an improviser and composer. His composition has been recognized by grants from the Aaron Copland Fund and the Los Angeles Jazz Society. As a performer, Sears has appeared with the likes of Chick Corea, Mark Turner, Muhal Richard Abrams, Joshua Redman, and Billy Hart.
“Altadena,” his most recent release, features the legendary Tootie Heath performing with Sears’s sextet. “Altadena” has earned four stars in Downbeat Magazine, and was named one of 2016’s best release by AllAboutJazz.
Saturday’s performance, from 5 to 6 p.m., is free with admission.
For more information, visit www.nortonsimon.org.
The Norton Simon Museum is at 411 W. Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena.