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Arts & Culture

Heath Opens MTSU Jazz Artist Series Oct. 20 with Tribute to Sax Great Jacquet


Tenor saxophonist Jimmy Heath will join the MTSU Jazz Ensemble I and MTSU jazz faculty to open the 2014-15 MTSU Jazz Artist Series Monday, Oct. 20, with “A Tribute to Illinois Jacquet.” 

Tickets for the Oct. 20 concert, which begins at 7:30 p.m. in Hinton Hall inside MTSU’s Wright Music Building, are $10 for the public. You can find a printable campus map at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap14-15.

Admission is free for MTSU students, faculty and staff with a valid ID. Discounts for area music students and educators also are available.

The concert will salute the American jazz tenor saxophonist Jean-Baptiste “Illinois” Jacquet, who died in 2004 after a storied 60-year-plus career that deeply influenced artists in jazz, rhythm and blues and rock ‘n’ roll.

The event also will celebrate a new MTSU jazz scholarship established by the Illinois Jacquet Foundation, said Jamey Simmons, jazz trumpeter and coordinator of jazz studies in MTSU’s School of Music.

"We were thrilled last year when Dr. Pamela Jacquet Davis approached us to inquire about the possible donation of (her father) Illinois Jacquet’s archive to MTSU’s Center for Popular Music and the establishment of a scholarship to be awarded to students interested in studying the art of jazz,” said Simmons, noting that Davis also will be on hand Oct. 20 for a special presentation.

"It's in the spirit of celebration that we bring in Jimmy Heath, a true jazz legend who shared the stage with Jacquet.”

Heath is recognized as a brilliant instrumentalist as well as a magnificent composer and arranger. It’s clear that music is in his blood, as he’s the middle sibling of the legendary Heath Brothers trio — with Percy Heath on bass and Tootie Heath on drums — and his son is acclaimed jazz, funk and soul musician and producer Mtume.

Heath has performed with nearly all the jazz greats of the last 50 years, including Howard McGhee, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis and Wynton Marsalis. One of Heath’s earliest bands in 1947 in Philadelphia included John Coltrane and Benny Golson, and Charlie Parker and Max Roach sat in on one occasion. 

You can learn more about Heath and listen to his latest release, “Togetherness,” at his website, http://www.jimmyheath.com. The Illinois Jacquet Foundation has more information about Jacquet, including performance videos, at its website, http://www.illinoisjacquetfoundation.org.

Heath also will present a free public music clinic the day after his MTSU performance at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21, in Room 303 of the Saunders Fine Arts Building on campus.  

Tickets may be reserved in advance by calling 615-898-2724 or emailing Simmons at james.simmons@mtsu.edu. Tickets also can be purchased at the door. 

Now in its 16th season, the MTSU Jazz Artist Series brings internationally renowned jazz artists to campus for performances and educational workshops. Past guest artists have included some of the most important musicians and educators in jazz history.

The 2014-15 Jazz Artist Series continues Friday, Feb. 13, with a performance by the MTSU Jazz Alumni Big Band directed by John Duke. The third concert in the series is set for Saturday, March 21, with pianist Bill Cunliffe.

MTSU Jazz Artist Series Jimmy Heath

For more information about MTSU’s Jazz Artist Series or any other events in the MTSU School of Music, please visit http://www.mtsumusic.com or call 615-898-2493.