03-03-2008, 12:21 AM #1
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Guitarist Jeff Healey dies of cancer at 41
I'm in total shock! I was flipping channels before going to bed and just heard the news.
Sleep with angels, Jeff.
Guitarist Jeff Healey dies of cancer at 41
One of Canada's premier musicians; Juno winner, also nominated for Grammy
Canwest News Service and Times Colonist
Published: Sunday, March 02, 2008
Virtuosic Toronto guitarist Jeff Healey has died of cancer. He was 41.
Healey lost his vision as a baby to a rare form of retinal cancer and he battled the disease throughout this life. His website said he died with his wife, Cristie, at his bedside in Toronto's St. Joseph's Hospital.
Norman Jeffrey Healey was one of Canada's premier musicians, a Juno winner who was also nominated for a Grammy award. Healey was probably best known for his 1988 blues-rock album See the Light, which included the hit single Angel Eyes. But he was also a jazz fan, musician and collector who was host of a CBC Radio program, My Kinda Jazz, that featured rare material from his 30,000-plus collection of 78 r.p.m. albums.
Jeff Healey in 2005 during an Ottawa concert.View Larger Image View Larger Image
Jeff Healey in 2005 during an Ottawa concert.
CanWest News Service
In recent years he had distanced himself from his blues-rock past, choosing to play jazz, which he described as his first love.
"I hate writing songs," he told Mike Devlin of the Times Colonist in 2006, before a Victoria concert at the McPherson Playhouse. "As far as original material to be played in traditional jazz bands, why bother? There's thousands and thousands of tunes, and hundreds of them are absolutely untouchable as far as how great they are.I've got nothing special to say in any direction that hasn't been said, so why not take it from the masters?" Not surprisingly, Healey's most recent albums highlighted his jazz playing, on both guitar and trumpet. However, a new rock-blues album, Mess of Blues, is slated for release in Canada in April.
As a toddler, Healey picked up a guitar and, setting it on his knees, developed a distinct sound and playing style.
By the time he was a teenager, Healey had formed a four-piece band called the Blue Direction and was playing in clubs throughout the Toronto area. His best known work came when he formed the Jeff Healey Band several years later with bassist Joe Rockman and drummer Tom Stephen.
The Jeff Healey Band was a sellout act across Canada and sold more than a million albums in the U.S. market. During the course of his musical career, he shared the stage with such musical titans as Stevie Ray Vaughan, George Harrison and B.B. King.
He was nominated for a Grammy for the song Hideaway in 1988 and in 1990 was awarded a Juno in the Entertainer of the Year category.
Healey had a long fight with cancer. In 2007, he underwent surgery to remove cancerous growths from his lungs. He had earlier had two sarcomas removed from his legs.
Healey is survived by his wife and two children, 13-year-old Rachel and three-year-old Derek. Other survivors include his father Bud and stepmother Rose, and two sisters, Laura and Linda.
Funeral and memorial arrangements have not been announcedSeptember 11th - Never Forget
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03-03-2008, 12:15 PM #2
I had no idea he was so young. Jeff Healey was truly under-appreciated by the public. I saw him open for another band in the late 80's or early 90's and was really blown away. Watching him play in his unorthodox style was entertaining as well. He could do some things that "ordinary" axe men could only dream about.
I'm glad he left us one last album before he passed.ullrichk
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