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J. C. Heard

J. C. Heard

American musician
The basics
Occupations Conductor Jazz musician Bandmaster
Countries United States of America
A.K.A. J.C. Heard, James Charles Heard
Gender male
Birth August 10, 1917 (Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio, U.S.A.)
Death September 27, 1988 (Royal Oak, Oakland County, Michigan, U.S.A.)
Education Cass Technical High School
Authority Discogs id ISNI id Library of congress id Musicbrainz id VIAF id
The details

James Charles Heard (August 10, 1917 in Dayton, Ohio – September 27, 1988 in Royal Oak, Michigan), better known as J. C. Heard, was a United States swing, bop, and blues drummer.

Heard was a supportive drummer, versatile enough to fit comfortably into swing, bop and blues settings. He obtained his first important professional job with Teddy Wilson in 1939 and continued performing into the 1980s. He performed with Lena Horne, Coleman Hawkins, Dexter Gordon, Benny Carter, Cab Calloway, Erroll Garner, Jazz at the Philharmonic, Pete Johnson, Charlie Parker, Sir Charles Thompson, Dizzy Gillespie and Roy Eldridge besides leading his own groups.

In 1946–47, he recorded with top bop musicians, led his own band at Cafe Society, was a member of Erroll Garner's trio, and toured with Jazz at the Philharmonic. In the years 1953 through 1957, he spent time in Japan as a singer/entertainer, mentoring young Japanese singers and musicians like Yukimura Izumi, George Kawaguchi and Franky Sakai. During 1957–66 he freelanced in New York (playing with the Coleman Hawkins-Roy Eldridge Quintet and with Teddy Wilson's trio in 1961). In 1966 J.C. Heard moved to Detroit where he worked as a bandleader and a mentor to younger musicians into the mid-1980s. In 1983, he again recorded an album as leader, accompanied by saxophonist George Benson, pianist Claude Black, and Dave Young on bass. In 1981, JC started a 13 piece big band which played around the state and various festivals often featuring Dizzy Gillespie and other colleagues. This group recorded in 1986 and continued performing regularly until JC's passing.


  • 1958: This is Me, J. C. Heard (Argo)
  • 1983: The Detroit Jazz Tradition - Alive & Well (Parkwood)
  • 1986: Some of This, Some of That! - JC Heard Orchestra
  • 1988: Mr. B. with J.C. Heard - Partners in Time - with George Benson (Blind Pig Records)

With Gene Ammons

  • Nice an' Cool (Moodsville, 1961)
  • Jug (Prestige, 1961)

With Benny Carter

  • Cosmopolite (Norgran, 1952 [1955])

With Arnett Cobb

  • Sizzlin' (Prestige, 1960)
  • Ballads by Cobb (Moodsvile, 1960)

With Roy Eldridge

  • Rockin' Chair (Clef, 1951)

With Dizzy Gillespie

  • Dizzy Gillespie and Stuff Smith (Verve, 1957)
  • Sittin' In (Verve, 1957)

With Johnny Hodges

  • In a Tender Mood (Norgran, 1952 [1955])
  • The Blues (Norgran, 1952–54, [1955])

With Howard McGhee

  • Howard McGhee and Milt Jackson (Savoy, 1948 [1955])

With Lester Young

  • Lester Young with the Oscar Peterson Trio (Norgran, 1952)
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