Sunday, March 02, 2008

RIP Jeff Healey

This one hits home. Guitarist, trumpeter, singer, songwriter, club owner, producer, and jazz advocate Jeff Healey has died at the far too young age of 41. Most people outside of Canada would have known him for The Jeff Healey Band and his cover of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," as well as his hit "Angel Eyes." In more recent years he turned his attention to the trumpet and pre-WWII jazz with The Jazz Wizards, and was a great advocate of pre-bop music. Healey's, later called Jeff Healey's Roadhouse, was (and still is) a fixture on the Toronto rock and blues-rock scene of the late '90s and early 2000s. Healey was also a mainstay at The Rex. I'll never forget when he showed up at one of the Tuesday night jam sessions and asked to play someone else's guitar, laid across his lap in signature fashion. To be two feet away from such massive tone and joyful musicality was a real thrill when I was a teenager. Though I never properly met Healey, he was definitely an icon of the Canadian music scene and even through that one Rex encounter I felt his warm spirit.

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