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Index of Artists

Jeff Healey And The Jazz Wizards

Biography:

March 2, 2008

Guitarist and Bandleader Jeff Healey Dies in Toronto Hospital
Jeff Healey with Domenic Troiano and Long John Baldry
Jeff Healey with Domenic Troiano and Long John Baldry

Following a lengthy struggle with cancer, Healey passes away on the eve of the release of a new blues rock album (His First Blues Album in 8 Years)

Jeff Healey, arguably one of the most distinctive guitar players of our time, died today (Sunday March 2, 2008) in St. Joseph’s Hospital, Toronto. He was 41, and leaves his wife, Cristie, daughter Rachel (13) and son Derek (three), as well as his father and step-mother, Bud and Rose Healey, and sisters Laura and Linda.

Funeral and memorial arrangements are pending.

Robbed of his sight as a baby due to a rare form of cancer, retino blastoma, and he started to play guitar when he was three, holding the instrument unconventionally across his lap. He formed his first band at 17, but soon formed a trio which was named the Jeff Healey Band.

After his appearance in the movie Road House, he was signed to Arista records, and in 1988 released the Grammy-nominated album See the Light, which included a major hit single, Angel Eyes. He earned a Juno Award in 1990 as Entertainer of the Year.

Two more albums emerged on Arista, with lessening success as the ’90s passed. Various “best-of” and live packages were released, and he recorded two more rock albums, before turning to his real love, classic American jazz from the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s.

By then, however, Healey was an internationally-known star who had played with dozens of musicians, including B.B. King and Stevie Ray Vaughan, and recorded with George Harrison. Mark Knopfler and the late blues legend, Jimmy Rogers.

A family man with a three-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter he preferred to stay close to home. “I’ve traveled widely before - been there and done that,” he told friends, determined to avoid the lengthy, exhausting tours that marked his life in his twenties and early thirties.

A long-running CBC Radio series saw him in the role of disc jockey - My Kinda Jazz was a staple for a while, but in recent years he had hosted a programme with a similar name on Jazz-FM in Toronto. A highlight of his broadcasts was always the use of rare — and rarely heard — music from his 30,000-plus collection of 78-rpm records.

Jeff Healey playing live
Jeff Healey playing live
© Rob Hamill

As his rock career wound down as the millennium came, he recorded a series of three album of early jazz, playing trumpet as well as acoustic guitar in a band he called Jeff Healey’s Jazz Wizards. The most recent was It’s Tight Like That, recorded live at Hugh’s Room in Toronto in 2005, with British jazz legend Chris Barber as guest star.

At the time of his death he was about to see the release of his first rock/blues album in eight years, Mess of Blues, which is being released in Europe on March 20, 2008 and in Canada and the U.S. on April 22. The album was the result of a joint agreement between the German label, Ruf Records, and Stony Plain, the independent Edmonton-based label that has released his three jazz CDs.

Mess of Blues was recorded in studios in Toronto, with two cuts recorded at the Jeff Healey’s Roadhouse in Toronto and two at a concert in London England. The backup group on the upcoming CD - the Healey’s House Band - played with him regularly at the downtown Roadhouse, and at a previous club bearing his name in the Queen-Bathurst area.

Early last year, Healey underwent surgery to remove cancerous tissue from his legs, and later from both lungs; aggressive radiation treatments and chemotherapy, however, failed to halt the spread of the disease.

Despite his battle with cancer, he undertook frequent tours across Canada with both his blues-based band and his jazz group; he was set for a major tour in Germany and the U.K. and was to be a guest on the BBC’s famed Jools Holland Show in April.

Remembered by his musicians - and his audiences - for his wry sense of humour as well as his musical playfulness, Healey was a unique musician who bridged different genres with ease and assurance.

Beautiful Noise DVD

Beautiful Noise DVD
SPDVD 1348
Genre: Jazz
Released: 6 April 2010
  1. I Would Do Anything For You
  2. Bugle Call Rag
  3. If I Had You
  4. Darktown Strutter's Ball
  5. Wild Cat
  6. I'm Gonna Lock My Heart And Throw Away The Key
  7. Sugar Blues
  8. Sing You Sinners
  9. Sweet Georgia Brown
  10. You Go To My Head
  11. Long John Blues

Reviews:

Elmore
By Cliff Preis
...seeing [Healey] pick up a trumpet and blowing Louis Armstrong-inspired choruses only added to my amazement.

Last Call

Last Call
SPCD 1335
Genre: Traditional Jazz
Released: 6 April 2010
  1. Holding My Honey's Hand (2:56)
  2. Time On My Hands (5:01)
  3. The Wildcat (Listen to mp3 clip) (2:34)
  4. You Can't Pull The Wool Over My Eyes (3:00)
  5. Deep Purple (4:50)
  6. Hong Kong Blues (Listen to mp3 clip) (3:10)
  7. Pennies From Heaven (3:57)
  8. Autumn In New York (4:47)
  9. I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter (3:06)
  10. Black And Blue Bottom (2:51)
  11. Guitar Duet Stomp (Listen to mp3 clip) (3:35)
    * free full length download *
  12. Laura (4:53)
  13. Keeping Myself For You (3:55)
  14. Some Of These Days (2:44)
  15. BONUS VIDEO: "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter

Reviews:

Globe and Mail
By J.D. Considine
As if we needed another reason to miss him, Jeff Healey’s final studio recording shows how well he could illuminate the hot jazz he adored.

Songs From The Road

Songs From The Road
SPCD 1343
Genre: Blues
Released: 28 July 2009
  1. I Think I Love You Too Much (5:36)
  2. I'm Ready (5:21)
  3. Stop Breaking Down (5:57)
  4. Angel Eyes (5:54)
  5. Come Together (5:22)
  6. Hoochie Coochie Man (7:09)
  7. White Room (5:35)
  8. While My Guitar Gently Weeps (5:13)
  9. Whipping Post (5:59)
  10. Teach Your Children Well (2:48)
  11. Santa, Bring My Baby Back (To Me) (2:09)

Reviews:

Toronto Blues Music Examiner
By Dennis Smith
Songs from the Road (Stony Plain Records) captures Healey's gift for energizing rock and blues tunes with powerful, sometimes blistering guitar work.

Mess Of Blues

Mess Of Blues
SPCD 1333
Genre: Blues
Released: 15 April 2008
  1. I'm Torn Down (5:23)
  2. How Blue Can You Get (Listen to mp3 clip) (8:54)
  3. Sugar Sweet (3:46)
  4. Jambalaya (4:00)
  5. The Weight (Listen to mp3 clip) (4:26)
  6. Mess O' Blues (3:24)
  7. It's Only Money (Listen to mp3 clip) (3:10)
  8. Like A Hurricane (6:39)
  9. Sittin' On Top Of The World (7:07)
  10. Shake, Ratte And Roll (4:29)

Reviews:

Telegraph-Journal - April 30, 2008
By Bob Mersereau
This last album will no doubt be my favourite blues album by Healey.

Adventures In Jazzland

Adventures In Jazzland
SPCD 1313
Genre: Jazz
Released: 19 September 2006
  1. Bugle Call Rag (5:22)
  2. My Honey's Lovin Arms (5:02)
  3. Emaline (4:03)
  4. I Never Knew What A Gal Could Do (4:08)
  5. If I Had You (4:09)
  6. Three Little Words (4:24)
  7. My Blackbirds Are Bluebirds Now (2:52)
  8. Someday Sweetheart (5:01)
  9. Keep Smiling At Rouble (3:38)
  10. Mine-All Mine (3:33)
  11. You're Driving Me Crazy (5:34)
  12. Poor Butterfly (3:23)
  13. You Brought A New Kind Of Love To Me (5:02)
  14. Indiana (6:40)
  15. Little Buttercup (3:04)

Among Friends

Among Friends
SPCD 1312
Genre: Jazz
Released: 19 September 2006
  1. I Would Do Anything For You (4:27)
  2. Bright Eyes (3:18)
  3. Pardon My Southern Accent (3:44)
  4. Out Of Nowhere (3:55)
  5. Lost (4:41)
  6. Star Dust (4:52)
  7. Where Are You (4:15)
  8. A Cup Of Coffee, A Sandwich, And You (4:34)
  9. Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams (5:37)
  10. I Wish I Were Twins (3:09)
  11. My Buddy (6:55)
  12. Save Your Sorrow For Tomorrow (3:22)
  13. Midnight Blue (3:38)
  14. Limehouse Blues (3:32)
  15. I'll See You In My Dreams (1:01)
  16. Blues In Thirds (4:29)

It's Tight Like That

It
SPCD 1314
Genre: Jazz
Released: 28 March 2006
  1. Bugle Call Rag (6:20)
  2. Sing You Sinners (Listen to mp3 clip) (4:55)
  3. Basin Street Blues (6:08)
  4. Little Girl (5:08)
  5. Someday Sweetheart (6:38)
  6. Darktown Strutters Ball (4:38)
  7. Confessin' (7:50)
  8. Keep It To Yourself (4:41)
  9. Sheik of Araby (5:00)
  10. Goin' Up The River (7:40)
  11. It's Tight Like That / Wipe Em Off (7:08)