Biography Jeff Healey

Jeff Healey first came to international acclaim in 1988 with his multi-million selling See the Light album on Arista Records and his appearance in the movie "Roadhouse" together with Patrick Swayze, Ben Gazzara and Sam Elliott. It was followed by two more releases, 1990's Hell to Pay, and Feel This, released in 1992. Since then, there have been two additional releases, the last in 2000, as well as a live CD and video recorded at the Montreux Jazz Festival, and two "best-of" compilations of the Arista material.

In 2002 he released the first of three albums of classic jazz with the Jeff Healey Jazz Wizards, the classic jazz group with which he played trumpet as well as guitar. The most recent Healey jazz record — a 2006 collaboration with British trombonist Chris Barber — was released internationally on Stony Plain, which has also reissued the first two jazz CDs.

Blind since early childhood due to a rare form of cancer, he picked up his first guitar when he was three, and began to play it flat across his lap, "accidentally" devising the revolutionary technique that became his signature style. He formed his first band at 17, but soon formed a trio which was named the Jeff Healey Band.
After his appearance in the movie Road House, he was signed to Arista records, and in 1988 released the Grammy-nominated album See the Light, which included a major hit single, Angel Eyes. He earned a Juno Award in 1990 as Entertainer of the Year.

He had also begun to amass a formidable record collection — he now has well over 30,000 78-rpm records, in addition to thousands of CDs and tapes — and later created a CBC Radio show, which he named "My Kinda Jazz." (The program still continues today on Toronto's 91.1 Jazz FM station).

By the mid-'90s, Healey had played with dozens of musicians, including B.B. King and Stevie Ray Vaughan, and recorded with George Harrison. Mark Knopfler and the late blues legend, Jimmy Rogers.

A family man with a three-year-old son and a 12-year-old daughter, he preferred to stay close to home. "I've traveled widely before — been there and done that," he said, determined to avoid the lengthy, exhausting tours that had marked his life in his twenties and early thirties.

Despite this he still undertook two or three European tours a year with the blues band, earning ear-splitting applause — and enthusiastic critical response — whenever he played.

Following a lengthy struggle with cancer, Healey passed away on Sunday March 2, 2008 in Toronto.

Remembered by his musicians — and his audiences — for his wry sense of humour as well as his musical playfulness, Healey was a unique musician who bridged different genres with ease and assurance.

Discography:

1988 See the light
1990 Hell to Pay
1992 Feel This
1995 Cover to Cover
2000 Get Me Some
2002 Among friends
2004 Adventures in Jazzland
2005 Live at Montreaux 1999
2006 It's Tight Like That (live)
2008 Mess of Blues
2009 Songs From The Road (live)

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