Sunday, March 02, 2008

Jeff Healey, RIP.

Toronto musician Jeff Healey passed away today at 41 after a losing battle with cancer. Healey had been affected by cancer for much of his life, losing his eyesight to retinoblastoma as a baby. Healey began playing guitar at three, holding the instrument across his lap, a style he would use throughout his life. Healey would later take up trumpet and clarinet, a reflection of his love of early jazz. Although it was as a blues rock guitarist, singer, and bandleader that he found fame Healey's devotion to jazz was obvious given his collection of more than 25 thousand jazz 78s, and he recorded several jazz albums after his fame cooled in the mid '90s. For several years he hosted the program My Kind of Jazz on CBC Radio that showcased material from his collection. He also ran a club in Toronto at which he often played with his group the Jazz Wizards. Healey found himself battling cancer once more when tumours appeared on his legs in 2005, followed by surgery to remove lung tumours in 2007.

1 comment:

Brent McKee said...

I was a huge fan of Jeff Healey's radio show My Kind Of Jazz and was extremely put out when the show disappeared. I can't remember if it was his choice or whether the CBC decided to go in a "new direction" which included Jeff out. It's always sad to hear of someone dying at his age, doubly sad when it is someone with such a huge resevoir of both talent and knowledge.