Tootie Heath.

Tootie Heath.

Michael Perez / Courtesy of the artist


Jazz Night is celebrating the 2021 class of NEA Jazz Masters. We start with Tootie Heath. Note: This episode originally aired Sept 9, 2015.

The iconic drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath turned 80 on May 31,2015 and Jazz Night went to the celebration. Heath, who first recorded in the 1950s with John Coltrane, has been active for over 50 years, performing with such artists as Dexter Gordon, Nina Simone, Wes Montgomery, and countless others. Incredibly, popular opinion suggests that Tootie sounds as good as ever.

Jazz Night In America visits Jazz at Lincoln Center as Tootie Heath performs at his birthday parties — and host Christian McBride pops over to interview him personally.

Copyright 2021 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit

Related: WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center