Ken Leighton 12:30 p.m., Feb. 21
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Jimmy Cheatham retired in 1993 from the University of California San Diego as professor of music. Jimmy was such a valuable resource, however, that UCSD officials hired him back immediately to continue in his role as Jazz Ensemble Director. Over the years, he has played bass trombone with Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, Thad Jones, and Ornette Coleman, and was musical director for Chico Hamilton. He arranges all the songs for the Sweet Baby Blues Band and co-writes with Jeannie.
Jeannie Cheatham performed with Big Mama Thornton off and on for ten years. She was featured with Thornton and Sippie Wallace in the award-winning PBS television special Three Generations of the Blues. In 1984, she toured with Cab Calloway. Prior to that, she was on the road accompanying blues greats such as T-Bone Walker, Joe Williams, Al Hibbler, Dinah Washington, Odetta, and Jimmy Witherspoon.
Jeannie and Jimmy Cheatham and the Sweet Baby Blues Band have performed at the Long Beach Blues Festival and the Long Beach Jazz Festival, the San Francisco Blues Festival, Playboy Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, Chicago Jazz Festival, and the Fujitsu Concord Jazz Festival. The have also appeared in a jazz festival in New Zealand.
Jimmy Cheatham underwent heart surgery in December 2006 and passed away in January 2007.