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Author: Subject: RIP Jeff Healey

True Peach





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  posted on 3/2/2008 at 08:28 PM
Jeff Healey, arguably one of the most distinctive guitar players of our time, died today (Sunday March 2) 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.
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, 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.


—end—


For further information, please contact:

Canada:
Richard Flohil
416 351-1323 / 416 997-4788 rflohil@sympatico.ca

Holger Petersen
Stony Plain Records
780 468-6423 holger@stonyplainrecords.com


Europe
Thomas Ruf.
Ruf Records
011 49 (0)36087 / 92200 ruf@rufrecords.de


United States
Mark Pucci, MP Media
770-804-9555 mpmedia@bellsouth.net

 
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Zen Peach



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  posted on 3/2/2008 at 08:29 PM
NFW. Jeez. This is sad.

 

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True Peach



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  posted on 3/2/2008 at 08:31 PM
RIP

Had his first album and he was a monster guitar player....

 

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  posted on 3/2/2008 at 08:35 PM
What?? I know he was fighting a battle...Rendered blind from eye cancer since the age of one. I am truly sorry to hear this news...



[Edited on 3/3/2008 by susea]

 

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  posted on 3/2/2008 at 08:37 PM
That sucks......

I loved him in Roadhouse, one of those movies I can watch over and over. I wish I had a nickel for every time I played Angel Eyes in some smokey dive bar.

He was truly unique.

R.I.P. Jeff. You WILL be missed.

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 3/2/2008 at 08:41 PM
Yes Dave, that Roadhouse Blues...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIZywo3PBTE

Angel Eyes...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYz_LHKrgDY&feature=related

[Edited on 3/3/2008 by susea]

 

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  posted on 3/2/2008 at 08:43 PM
Damn shame.

I spoke briefly to him when he opened a show at the Sam Houston Coliseum.

He was hanging in the lobby after his set, talking to whoever approached him.


Cancer SUCKS.

 

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  posted on 3/2/2008 at 08:45 PM
awwww....that's crappy news & very much a surprise. I listen to him quite a bit...he made some great music! and so young...with a wife & kids rip & thanks for sharing your talent...you will be missed.

 

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  posted on 3/2/2008 at 08:47 PM
Im so bummed. He was great. I had the homor of seeing him a couple of times, too young to go.
 

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  posted on 3/2/2008 at 08:48 PM
Wow what a shocker!

 

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  posted on 3/2/2008 at 08:48 PM
RIP Jeff!!!!!!

 

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  posted on 3/2/2008 at 08:50 PM
Very sad.

Tons of talent, and he died so young.

 

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  posted on 3/2/2008 at 09:03 PM
Sad.

Saw him once and he rocked!

 

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  posted on 3/2/2008 at 09:10 PM
Great & unique player, really great sense of humour & quick wit ,a knowledge & collection of jazz that would knock you out, radio host and club owner Healy will be missed. Saw him many many times but my personal fav.was Healy & Warren sitting in on Dixie Chicken in Toronto on the tour ABB/Feat did in '91.

RIP Jeff Healy and condolences to his family.

 

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  posted on 3/2/2008 at 09:33 PM
truly sad news. jeff was one of a kind. i fell in love with his music from the first time i heard "see the light". i can still picture him dancing around the stage playing the guitar behind his head - truly amazing. r.i.p.

 

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  posted on 3/2/2008 at 09:40 PM
This is truly a shame. It wasn't but about a week or so when Mark Pucci sent me the press release for Jeff's upcoming new album. He was a hell of a picker, but he just couldn't shake the cancer bug. RIP Brother Healey.

Derek H

 

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  posted on 3/2/2008 at 10:08 PM
very sad. Jeff played on the same stage at the 2000 Music Midtown that the abb played, although I can't recall for sure if it was the same day or the day before...at any rate, i was down front for jeff's set and it was just terrific. that was the only time I saw him--I figured he would be back in atlanta one way or another, but if he played here again after that, I missed it. man, 2000 sure seems like a long time ago...
 
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  posted on 3/2/2008 at 10:20 PM
Very sad.

Damn cancer!

 

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  posted on 3/2/2008 at 10:31 PM
Very sad. Loved his playing and singing. Got to see him and his band live a few years back at the Beacon and he was amazing. A great loss to the music world. RIP.

 

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  posted on 3/2/2008 at 11:01 PM
Tragic end for a guy who overcame many obstacles in life.

I had the honor of jamming with Jeff a few years before success kicked in for him. Told friends about this guitar player I played with in Toronto who was blind and plays it on his lap. I told them to keep their eyes open for him. A short few years later and he was nominated for a Grammy award.

Was wild to watch him play. I used to fool around with the technique. Because he played with his fret hand like a piano, he was able to stretch so far from his pinky to his thumb and the thumb and first finger are able to really bend notes so easily like that. incredible.

I always admired how he stuck with his band originally. Record company and many others advised him to find "better" players but he stuck by them. Would have been easy for a young guy to bail on them.

Met him a number of times and always a gentleman and nice guy. One show, I brought a date along and we went up front. As soon as he heard my voice, he told the crowd "Here comes trouble". I asked how he knew my date. Will never forget his laughter over that. The crowd must have been a little confused as they only heard his half of the conversation. He had comments for us all throughout the show. At the end of the night, he apologized jokingly to the crowd and told them that is what happens when a bad influence shows up. He turned to me and said "I am not talking about the woman."

So glad he made it and had a chance to play with so many greats. Will never forget that jam he did with all the British heavyweights. He jumped out of his chair and started jumping around. Clapton had to idea which direction to turn or how to stay out of his way.

Glad he got to play his jazz also because he loved it so much.

The world is a lesser place today.

Jeff Healey - See The Light (live) w/Dr John

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBBCJ68mC4c

Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jeff Healey - Look at Little Sister

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqU9RZqvFKY&feature=related



 

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  posted on 3/2/2008 at 11:08 PM
Very, very sad news. I heard that he had been ill but had no idea that it would take him so quickly. Damn..
Jeff was a very nice man in addition to being so gifted musically. Always friendly, always laughing, Jeff was not only a great player but had a voice that was perfectly beautiful. Listen to "Angel Eyes" sometime. It tears me up everytime I hear it. The way he sings that last verse...
There are so many hot geetar pickers out there but a truly great singer is the rarest commodity in show biz. Jeff was both of these things, and the way he overcame his handicap was an inspiration to one and all.
He sat in with us at Music Midtown in Atlanta in 2000. We did "I'm Tore Down" by Freddy King. He pretty much sliced and diced me in front of my hometown audience. lol
By the end of the song he was up from his chair prowling the stage and playing his ass off. I feared that he would fall off the front of the tall stage! After jamming, we went and heard The Allman Brothers Band on the 96 Rock stage. He was a HUGE ABB fan and we were both so excited to hear them that day. It was also Dickey Betts' last show with our boys. So, it was a very memorable day indeed.
Jeff will live on in song and I'm really proud to have known him. I'm headed toward the cd's now to find his first album so I can hear tearfully again him sing "Angel Eyes"..

 

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  posted on 3/2/2008 at 11:29 PM
RIP Jeff!

Saw Jeff a few times in Toronto and surrounding area: sitting in and ripping it up at a club with Paul James, with Randy Bachman and Duke Robillard at Massey Hall, playing trumpet with his Trad Jazz band at a blues and jazz festival and jamming and hanging out with folks at Grossmans Tavern.

So sad...

 

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  posted on 3/2/2008 at 11:31 PM
I was lucky to see Jeff twice in Australia back in the early 1990s. He was an an amazing guitarist. I am shocked to hear of his passing.

RIP Jeff Healey

 

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  posted on 3/2/2008 at 11:39 PM
love his version of "my guitar gently weeps".... bummer

 

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  posted on 3/2/2008 at 11:48 PM
Oh no...so sad. RIP Jeff

 

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