CD of the week - The Lady magazine
Review - 'Pavane', the album: “You don’t normally associate the word ‘beguiling’ with the sound of a trumpet, but this CD by celebrated trumpeter and composer Paul Higgs is just that. By turns romantic and haunting, but always insistent, Paul’s compositions mix the genres of classical music and jazz with the grandeur of a film score.” GS, The Lady, 21/2/14:CD OF THE WEEK; PAVANE:
Wakefield Jazz Club Review - Read article here
London Jazz News - Frank Griffith
Trumpeter, pianist, composer Paul Higgs, has produced a gently atmospheric melange of classical, jazz and new age vignettes. The eleven tracks that comprise Pavane, each about four minutes in length, subtly woo the listener in, with a combination of plainsong trumpet melodies supported by an evocative wash of cello and viola countermelodies ably played by Helen Yousaf. The trickly and wistful classical guitar broodings from Andy Watson score highly as well.
The collection feels more like a forty-five minute suite rather than a variety of distinctive compositions. A remarkable effect results from delivering changing sound palettes and tempi throughout ,yet unified by an overarching almost trance-like ethos.
In frenetic times Pavane escorts the listener to a softly lit secluded space, with music to soothe and salve the mind and body.
Paul Higgs is a new name to me although he has such jazz luminaries as Digby Fairweather and Dave Gelly, among others, in his corner.
Musical Director and Composer at the National Theatre and the RSC for 24 years Higgs also worked with notable names such as Dankworths John and Cleo, Peggy Lee, Al Martino, Buddy Greco, Shorty Rogers and Rosemary Clooney (cited as George Clooney's aunt. I always think of George Clooney as Rosie's nephew!).
An impressive pedigree built upon his acceptance by NYJO at age 14. Bill Ashton, then MD of NYJO, referred to him as "One of the most gifted composers and arrangers ever to have been involved with NYJO" - praise indeed.
Pavane is an album of original compositions that blend the genres of jazz and classical music.
Oh dear, I thought, where have I heard that before?!
I needn't have worried - it works a treat. Incredibly, the end product incorporates just enough of both genres to avoid offending aficionados of either form.
No dirty blues or stratospheric screeching, just pure melodic creation.
At times the Miles/Gil Evans collaborations are fleetingly suggested and tone-wise Chris Botti comes to mind but, overall, this is a triumph for the composer, arranger and trumpet player.
It's neither hot nor cool - just comfortably warm.
On a personal note; my late parents, with whom I had many heated arguments on the jazz v classics issue, would have enjoyed listening to this.
Link to Bebop Spoken Here
Chris Ingham - Oxford Mail review.
Article on Pavane at Top40-charts.com
Click here to read article
Prepared Pianola for Roger Bannister
Paul's composition for Mel Brimfield at the Whitechapel Gallery. A new commission for the Government Art Collection was on display at the Whitechapel Gallery, London. inspired by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Brimfield's 4' 33" (Prepared Pianola for Roger Bannister) is a playful interactive sculpture that takes as its starting point the experimental music and performances of John Cage and British athlete Roger Bannister's fourth-placed position in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. A multi-layered score with echoes of everything from the British National Anthem to BBC TV's Ski Sunday theme tune has been specially composed for the project." There's a big red button to press, which causes a klaxon and various bells to sound, Then the pianola automatically plays a "tune" based on Bannister's race at the Helsinki Olympics, breaking into snippets of the various national anthems of whoever was leading at that particular time into the race. A 1920s Steck pianola, a 'ball run' incorporating percussion instrument and musical horns combine to play a composition inspired by the athletes' performance in the race and the experimental music of John Cage. The work celebrates the 1952 Helsinki Olympic race where British athlete Roger Bannister came fourth -- just missing out on a medal -- but spurring him on in his goal of breaking the four-minute mile two years later. "I think there's something quite British about noble striving rather than success," said Ms Brimfield. "I wanted to make some sort of monument to that and this is the story of this race."