vital stats:
given name   Edward Heath [ one source said "George Edward Heath" ]
birth   Mar. 30, 1900 (or 1902?), South London, England
death   Nov. 18, 1969, London, England
first wife   Audrey Keymer, d.1932
second wife   Moira Tracey, m.Dec. 16, 1933, d.Jan. 24, 2000
son   Nick Heath
son   Tim Heath
office   23 Albemarle St., London W., England [ 1950s ]
residence   Wimbledon, South London, England

    Heath recorded prolifically, for Decca and London.  Among his LPs were "Swing Session," "Shall We Dance," "'Fats' Waller Album," "My Very Good Friends the Bandleaders," "Big Band Percussion," and "Swing Is King."
   As his music spread overseas through those recordings, he was invited to tour the United States, starting in April 1956.  A particular highlight came when he performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City on May 1st.
    "Heath's policy is a modified style of big band modern jazz with many competent jazz soloists and a high degree of showmanship that has contributed greatly to the band's popularity," author-critic Leonard Feather wrote.
    The band's instrumentalists included, at various times, trumpeters Kenny Baker and Bobbie Pratt; trombonist Don Lusher (who was with him for nine years); saxophonists Les Gilbert, Henry McKenzie (with Heath for 18 years), and Tommy Whittle; pianist Ralph Sharon; and drummers Jack Parnell or Ronnie Verrell. 
    Heath's vocalists included Beryl Davis, Dennis Lotis, Lita Roza, and Dickie Valentine.
    Around the mid-1960s, Heath retired from performing, due to a heart condition.
    Still, the band carried on, in a limited manner, under the direction of a couple different people, and albums continued to be released under Heath's name.
    There is in existence today an active Ted Heath Musical Appreciation Society, with membership last reported at 1,400 worldwide.
"Big Band Profiles: Ted Heath," Jazz Professional,
Leonard Feather, "Heath, Edward 'Ted,'" in The Encyclopedia of Jazz (New York City:
    Horizon Press, 1955), p.157.
"Ted Heath," The Big Bands Database Plus,
"Ted Heath," The Space Age Pop Music Page,
"Ted Heath (bandleader)," Wikipedia,
Roger D. Kinkle, "Heath, Ted," in The Complete Encyclopedia of Popular Music and Jazz
    1900-1950: Volume 2 Biographies A Through K (New Rochelle, NY: Arlington
    House Publishers, 1974), pp.1077-1078.

    I would like to expand this tribute with, if possible, a new interview of someone who was important to Ted Heath's life or career.  Are you an alumnus of his band, a member of his family, or a collector who is knowledgeable about his accomplishments?  Please contact me via e-mail

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by Music Librarian CHRISTOPHER POPA
September 2009

    He started playing trombone at the age of 14, and, as a young man, worked for such well-known English dance band leaders as Jack Hylton (1925-27), Ambrose (1927-35), and Geraldo (1940-44).
    In 1944, Heath assembled an orchestra to play only on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).  He made it a permanent, working unit in February 1945, and not long afterwards, they began a long series of Sunday night concerts at the London Palladium.
    Heath and his music quickly became the dominant big band in the United Kingdom, and also made a favorable impression in the USA as a precise,well-rehearsed outfit. 
Ted Heath
photo courtesy of Tony Middleton